cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Some things follow us for a long, long time and then, just as we thought they might be forgotten…
Elections can send messages, and those can be either positive or negative depending upon whether or not they are consistent with your personal belief system and positions. I don’t know what the turn-out statewide was yesterday compared to other similar elections, but some of the results caught my attention.
There are very obvious disconnects between intelligent life and human actions, and those rear their ugly heads when we take a look at the ‘stupid human tricks’ as performed by members of our species.
Can you imagine what would be happening if the use of John Doe investigations in Wisconsin were to have been instituted and driven by conservatives as opposed to those which have been driven by liberals? The outcry would’ve occurred almost instantly in spite of the gag orders. The press would’ve been instantly incensed. When the orders to cease and desist, and to return all things seized, were issued, failure to do so, as is currently the case, would’ve elicited even greater outcries. The national press would also be incensed and there would be HECK to pay.
Winter has finally made its presence known to us upper-Midwesterners today and promises to continue to remind us of its presence for several days to come. The weather patterns have seemed a bit out of whack this season even though I’ve enjoyed the later arrival of winter. I actually had the pleasure of an outdoor cigar on December 23rd. It was very pleasant. The geese have had no need to move even an inch further south since they had plenty of open water and open ground that still has grass showing.
The Wisconsin John Doe saga is still alive, in the minds of some, but seems maybe to be fading quickly. That would stand to reason given the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling that pretty bluntly killed that ill-thought effort by the overzealous Democratic DA from Milwaukee County and his cohorts that jumped on the bandwagon licking their proverbial chops thinking they could derail Scott Walker specifically and the Republicans and Republican donors generally. This was predicated on the theory that ‘express advocacy’ was the result of what the other side claimed was ‘issue advocacy’ in the hopes that campaign contributions of magnitude could be eliminated from the Republican purse thus accruing to the interests of the Democrats.
Will the decision made by Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday actually succeed in ending the John Doe investigation(s) as the Court ordered in its decision, or will those who brought these cases find yet another way to continue to spend taxpayer dollars?
Our beloved Packers have quite apparently fallen on hard times given recent performances. What has changed? The only thing that seems readily apparent is that of play calling. But there is something more here. Our vaunted offense is having problems executing and in basic performance, and yet the team higher ups felt that was going to be one of our strengths. Is our quarterback hampered with injury? He claims not, but there was not much to show for a healthy quarterback, if good plays were being called, for too long from the start of yesterday’s game. It seems unlikely that receivers who have been stellar so far this year would suddenly lose their abilities unless Lion coverage was as good as we made it look.
The debate within state government over the future of the Government Accountability Board, the GAB, has stalled due to the apparent flexing of muscle, by four Republicans no less, whose votes are necessary to be able to pass the reform package.
With the changes to the John Doe law in place, we are seeing whining by some who liked this approach to gathering evidence in secret. Grand Juries are still available, and witnesses can still be compelled to secrecy and search warrants and subpoenas can still be used, but the seemingly oft-favored early-morning, unannounced raids of residences in paramilitary fashion, sweeping up everything but pets, being conducted as we have seen in the past are going to be a problem.
Former IRS executive Lois Lerner is apparently going to skate from any charges that would recognize her insidious attack (my opinion) on any entity even sounding ‘conservative’. How did she attack those organizations? By derailing the applications those organizations filed with the IRS for tax exempt status. This announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General Peter J. Kadzik when he declared that the Justice Department had found no evidence of intent to obstruct justice.
Assembly Democrats have unleashed their ultimate weapon, but instead of going to Illinois they simply left the Assembly chambers rather than to cast ‘No’ votes on a bill they didn’t like. This is reminiscent of December, 2011 and the Senate Democrats who fled to parts unknown, or so they thought except they met with various and sundry reporters day-to-day from their ‘secret’ locations in Illinois.
The ‘death throes’ of our Government Accountability Board (GAB) are not something for the faint of heart. I presume, and sincerely hope, that the GAB will be made over by the time the Republican-dominated legislature is finished and that our Governor will sign whatever the result is into law, but the GAB is certainly going through agony as that clock ticks away.
“What do we want? Everything. When do we want it? Now.”
The Journal Sentinel editorial group today opined that Gov. Walker should NOT name a person to fill the vacant Wisconsin Supreme Court seat unless that person is not going to run for the seat during the coming election cycle, apparently since the act of naming would constitute an endorsement of the person named.
In case you hadn’t heard, Gov. Scott Walker is out of the presidential race…
It is long about this time in national political contests that I find myself wondering if it is possible for honest, upstanding ‘normal’ people with principled positions to prevail against the interest groups and their puppet candidates.
The Article 32 hearing for Bowe Bergdahl who may face court-martial is going on and Bergdahl has said he did what he did for a good reason: the Major commanding his unit was not doing things right and Bergdahl felt that by taking the action he did he could gain some kind of platform to make his views about the Major known. This, of course, ignores the simple fact that no soldier may desert his post upon his own counsel to right some perceived leadership wrong.
My opinion on the Government Accountability Board (GAB) has been laid out many times before.
I may very well die of old age before the whole situation with the GAB and run-away prosecutors and John Doe investigations is resolved, especially given the glacial movement so far evidenced.
We have been hearing about a shortage that has an astounding story behind it even though it refers to a shortage of relatively small creatures defined as “pollinators”. We are in danger of losing some of the things we dearly love to eat since these “pollinators”, typically honey bees, have been declining in numbers.
If the vaunted/hated Koch brothers have the influence they are supposed to have, then Governor Scott Walker should be in a good place as the race to the White House commences with the Republican debates tonight. Walker was voted, by applause to Frank Lundt’s question about who the gathered big money people thought had the best chance to win the coming race for President, the victor of that event.
Brett Favre’s induction into the Packer hall of fame occurs this evening and is to be televised on our local WTMJ channel 4 beginning at 6:30PM. We’ll be tuned in for the night. There are very few people who do not have a position when Brett Favre’s name comes up. He is usually either loved or he is despised. If you are not in one of those groups, it is possible that you’ve simply not been paying attention.
The WI Supreme Court killed the John Doe investigation that has gone on and on, but that is small comfort to those who were dragged into this mess in the first place. There is no redress available for those whose lives have been upended and who have been dragged through innuendo and half-truth and outright falsehoods.
Governor Walker is feeling a bit of a squeeze play from the Legislature concerning the Budget. It seems that even the members of his own party see that they have an opportunity to wring concessions from him or at least cause him some angst in his not-yet-announced-but-already-assumed run for the Presidency.
The world of health care is changing more rapidly today than I can ever before recall. The advent of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has played a significant role since it brought more patients into the mix and also directly and indirectly affects provider reimbursement.
There is an old bromide about our capitol city, Madison, WI being 94 Sq. Mi. surrounded by reality. There is a reason for that old saw to continue to be thought about. It is the seat of our Capitol, and it is the home of the University of Wisconsin system.
Hardly a week passes without some further mention of the discombobulated Wisconsin Supreme Court. Marquette Law School’s Dean Joseph Kearney delivered a talk last evening to those attending a meeting of the Western District of the Wisconsin Bar Association which included Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, the only member of the state Supreme Court who was in attendance.
Can we get beyond politics every once in a while to do something good for the country? The answer is ‘yes’ we can do that, but it does not happen very often. Our country has become politically calcified as has our state to a large degree. We conservatives are very much set in our ways as are the liberals and all the in-betweeners.
Entrenched power is under assault by Republicans writing the new state budget in the Joint Finance Committee. Those two areas are organized education and labor unions. Organized education sees the relaxation of teacher licensing in Wisconsin as the beginning of the end of excellent education. Organized labor sees the prospective repeal of the prevailing wage rules as the ultimate loss possible for certain unions.
Chicago seems a city destined to close once all its citizens have been shot to death.
It seems that every time I am at something of a loss for the subject of a nearly-daily blog, there are two possibilities that seem to be omnipresent: The Wisconsin Supreme Court and the never-ending John Doe investigation. Actually there is probably a third, and that would be whatever is the current revelation concerning Hillary Clinton.
Today’s Journal Sentinel front page talks about Shullsburg, WI and the most unique naming system for the streets running through the community. The streets were named by an Italian Dominican priest and architect in the 19th century.
A new report was just issued by a firm named Medscape that addresses the average compensation for physicians state-by-state. It sounds like the results should make us Wisconsinites happy at least for the fact that we should be an attractive place for doctors.
Our state Supreme Court is really “a Supreme embarrassment” given the so-far irreconcilable mess created by the suit filed by then Chief Justice Abrahamson over her loss of position as the Chief Justice determined by tenure given the votes of the people of the State of Wisconsin and the certification of that vote.
It is a shame that I’ll not be able to read the various tomes authored by Christian Schneider in the Journal Sentinel any more, but, since he decided to foolishly go up against John Chisholm, the Milwaukee County DA, and actually talk about the John Doe investigation this morning, I suspect he’ll be incarcerated rather quickly. If not incarcerated, then almost certainly he’ll be subject to a defamation suit.
Assurant Health, basically the former Time Insurance Company that used to be headquartered in Milwaukee is being put on the block by its parent organization and the blame for that can be laid at the feet of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Time Insurance made money on health insurance using smart underwriting of the risk. The use of health underwriting is forbidden by the ACA, something that people with prior health conditions and without insurance found to be great. Consequently, a formerly profitable health insurer is now losing big money due to adverse claims needing to be paid. It has other business that is largely comprised of life, dental and short-term and long-term disability policies which can still be underwritten but which is insufficient to keep the company alive in its present form.
This past Sunday’s Crossroads section in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel featured the headline: A violent spring in Milwaukee. We have all heard about and probably have all read about the increases in crime in the metropolitan area. It would’ve been almost impossible to have missed that news.
Wisconsin was/is one of seven states that use length of tenure as the factor in determining which Justice is deemed the Chief Justice of its Supreme Court. Twenty-two other states have rules that permit the seated Justices to decide by vote which of them will serve in that capacity, and that is what Wisconsin voters decided should be the case in Wisconsin two days ago.
Time to regroup if you are a Badger fan. We came close but that only counts, as the saying goes, in horseshoes and hand grenades. Fans (obviously from the word ‘fanatics’) get their identity from the team they choose to support and there is the ever-present danger that the team won’t deliver the ultimate win that is the desire of its fans.
The election coming next week has two items that I need to comment about, not that I think my comments will change anybody’s vote but at least I’ll feel better. A fellow Germantown Now blogger has already staked out his position and his position is basically the opposite of mine…as if that comes as a surprise to anyone who watches both Blogs regularly.
Trooper Trevor Casper is to be laid to rest today after being involved in a shoot-out at the end of his first solo day on duty. This has been a sad episode for his parents and friends, his community and the Wisconsin State Patrol. The flags flying at half-staff brought on an eerie feeling just knowing the tragedy he had driven into.
There are occasional stories that simply grip my senses to the point that I have difficulty in comprehending how I would feel if directly involved on one side or the other. One of those is the story on page one in the morning Journal Sentinel titled “Parents sue over screening delay”.
John Doe reform seems long overdue if you are of one political persuasion and seems terribly misguided if you are of another political persuasion. Generally, people who are more liberal seem to believe, or at least appear to believe, that the John Doe laws as those exist today are perfect. The idea that a person who is innocent until proven guilty can be coerced, legally, into not talking about the process is foreign to conservatives generally.
The non-partisan race for state Supreme Court Justice is obviously underway. Justice Ann Walsh Bradley is running for her second ten-year term and is opposed by Circuit Judge James Daley from Rock County. Bradley met Wednesday with members of the Journal Sentinel editorial group, and, according to the report in the morning newspaper “seemed almost stunned that he (Daley) would report in-kind contributions of about $7,000 from the Republican Party of Wisconsin”.
Right-to-work has taken center stage within the Wisconsin Legislature. As was to be expected, this became an immediate political football with the Democrats decrying the possibility and the Republican leadership saying they can pass it and will pass it.
Let me try to get this straight…the special prosecutor in a John Doe investigation that has been in the news for some time now, has asked one or more members of the state Supreme Court to recuse themselves. We can be reasonably sure that those members of the Court are from the conservative element of that Court. We can be reasonably sure that if he is asking that one recuse himself or herself, he has likely asked all of the usual conservatives to do so.
My father was a cheese man; he was a licensed cheese maker, owned several cheese factories at one time or another in Vernon and Crawford counties and was buyer/manager of a Borden’s cheese collection warehouse in Viroqua, WI for years during my youth. I worked in that warehouse during the summers placing cheddar cheeses on a rack that dunked them in melted wax to seal them for shipment or aging as the case was to be.
The Wisdom of Solomon would be handy for our U.S. Supreme Court as it decides the issue raised concerning government subsidies to help pay for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare. A look at the current information for Wisconsin gives some background:
John Doe limbo. That is where we seem to be for the moment. There is no sign that the John Doe investigation in which the Government Accountability Board (GAB) has been involved is going forward, but there also is no sign that it has really ended. The players and those people who were ‘played’ are in a state of limbo as this slow-motion process unfolds…or doesn’t unfold.
Is Governor Walker simply a flash in the political pan or is he actually catching wind in his sails as he trods the Presidential campaign trails? I don’t profess to know the answer to that question, but I can imagine how discombobulating that potential reality of wind in the sails must be for his opponents.
The Government Accountability Board (GAB) seems sometimes to have difficulty getting out of its own way. Rep. Vos (R), the Assembly Speaker, has been critical of the GAB and suggests that the GAB staff personnel have acted without the guidance of the GAB Board of Directors comprised of six retired judges from around the state. The Board is expected to act in a non-partisan manner as well as is the GAB proper.
The Journal Sentinel front page this morning carries the header for the Dan Bice column No Quarter: “Baldwin ousts aide over VA controversy”. Bice details the following:
M.D. Kittle of Wisconsin Reporter has been the rough equivalent of a Pit Bull as it relates to his dogged (pun intended) pursuit of the story surrounding the Government Accountability Board (GAB) and the investigations it has been part of over interpretation of Chapter 11 of Wisconsin’s campaign financing statutes. This chapter is essentially the driving force behind the John Doe investigation in which the GAB participated alongside Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm for low these many, many months consuming untold amounts of taxpayer funds. Not to mention the toll that this whole experience has taken on those who have had their lives turned upside down in late night raids on their residences
The Tomah, Wi Veteran’s Hospital has earned a nickname that is astounding. It is called “Candy Land” and that is not a sought-after euphemism. That name evolved from the heavy-handed distribution of narcotic drugs to veterans.
One of the first of these kinds of salvos we can expect to see fired at Governor Walker appeared in the Washington Post this morning. It concerns the lack of a college degree for Scott Walker and equates that to an implied finding that he is inadequate for the job of President of the United States. Walker left college in his senior year a few credits short of his degree, as he explains, to take a job thinking he’d go back and complete his work to obtain his degree.
The Government Accountability Board (GAB) has obviously been in the news for some time concerning its involvement in John Doe investigations aimed at Republicans. The John Doe in question was launched by Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm and the GAB joined in that effort a short while later.
With their victories firmly in hand, the question now is this: Will Republicans be able to play well together?
A Journal Sentinel reader sent a letter to the editor that appeared yesterday. The writer opined about the Wisconsin Supreme Court and politics, and particularly about the proposition by Sen. Tom Tiffany (R) Hazlehurst that would see the Chief Justice determined by vote of the members rather than by simple seniority. She was apparently aghast that politics might flavor the court and its decisions.
The Government Accountability Board (GAB) is a fairly popular target these days. It, according to some, has earned that target status through its actions as well as through its inactions.
Let’s hear it for OPEC…and especially for OPEC’s continued greed and perceived lack of alternatives. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has decided to avoid reducing the production of its member countries which almost assures a continued slide in the price of gasoline that you and I pay at the pumps. I paid $2.689 as a Costco member yesterday; I cannot remember paying this little for a long time (little, of course, being a lot more than I used to pay).
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has landed the job of a lifetime for a policy-wonk such as him. He is the incoming Chair of the United States House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee. This committee position is often referred to as the fourth most important position in our nation’s government after those of President, Senate Majority Leader and House Majority Leader. It has been chased after by some of the greatest political figures in our history and has been typically held by people at much more advanced ages.
The Capital Times in Madison seems to have difficulty in accepting the fact that Governor Walker managed yet another victory. Oh, it accepts the fact that Walker has won three times in a row but it somehow has managed to reach the conclusion that even if Walker won, his policies lost.
Being a hypocrite can come easily to many if we do not defend against that status. It seems that the Democratic Party is running afoul of that definition.
It is good that our election season is rapidly drawing to a close given the daily slippage in taste of commercials being aired and printed. As candidates become more desperate, it seems too many are willing to throw good taste out the window in the attempt to win at any cost.
(Note: Early voters can change their votes if they choose to do so before the election. They must go to the Clerk in their jurisdiction, indicate they wish to change their vote and the ballot will be located for them.)
Mary Burke being referred to by her predecessor at the Department of Commerce as “She’s a disaster” apparently was rather soft compared to what we now learn courtesy of Matt Kittle at www.WisconsinReporter.com who dropped the bombshell that now explains the time lapses in her resume’ that we’ve discussed earlier. Mary Burke was recalled from Europe and fired by her family over “steep overseas financial losses” and the “plummeting morale” of her staff.