December 31, 2004
Out with the old, in ...
Somehow the behavior of G.W. Bush since the unbearable Asian tragedy seems like the raw material for another movie for Michael Moore. Who could forget the president telling reporters to watch his golf swing in Fahrenheit 9/11 or his fascination with My Pet Goat after learning about the planes hitting the Twin Towers?
Now we have the same president, once again focused on his vacation plans, appearing disconnected from the real world as we reel from the news from Asia. The Minneapolis Star Tribune said it best in an editorial: "The Bush administration's handling of this crisis has been inept beyond belief...At every step of the way, the official U.S. response to this disaster has been seen as grudging...By its niggling contributions and by Bush's silence, the U.S. has strongly suggested to the world that it doesn't care all that much." Well said.
Millions of people are in danger of dying of thirst, disease, hunger or lack of medical treatment. Our response to this disaster coupled with the unilateral invasion of Iraq sends strong signals that hubris rather than empathy governs. Ah, but not to worry. Jeb Bush, the president-in-waiting, will tour Asia. Perhaps the Carlyle Group and Halliburton will join him on the plane.
Well, somehow this story fits with my feelings about 2004. Now we must figure out how to give hope to people throughout the world. This country has been a beacon of hope for well over 200 years. Time to light the candle again.
Happy new year.
December 30, 2004
People will get their chance
There is plenty of depressing news as 2004 slinks out. More than 100,000 deaths in Asia and a pathetic response from the U.S.; more than 1,300 soldiers killed in Iraq as the country moves toward theocracy if the American sponsored election goes forward, and probable civil war either way; four more years of Cheney-Bush; an air advisory in December in Wisconsin; and a state Legislature returning soon with perhaps the most irresponsible leadership since we became a state. Yikes! as they say. (Who says Yikes? I don't know but someone must.)
So, what's the good news? As I write this blog, more than 500 people have pre-registered for the People's Legislature to convene January 4 at 11:00. People ask if it will be successful, and my answer is yes if we are able to focus attention on our lost democracy and come up with plans to take it back. I think we will.
No requriement to pre-register, so come and bring a friend. We ask for $5 to cover rental of the Alliant Center--and you get free parking, lots of kindred souls, people of all parties and many with none. The politically homeless will gather and speak. Should start our year properly.
See you on the 4th.
December 29, 2004
President Bush is hot. Why? A U.N. official said the wealthy nations are stingy in responding to the greatest natural disaster in our lifetimes. As numbers climb toward 100,000 deaths, the Bush administration pledged all of $35 million. With enormous health risks following the Tusnami, one would think the U.S. would plunge in with massive aid, airlifts, and billions not millions.
Stingy? Short-sighted? Ridiculous. Oh, I forgot. We have a war going on in Iraq.
December 28, 2004
Listen up, John Kerry
Had John Kerry and John Edwards demonstrated the fight shown us by Christine Gregoire in Washington, Kerry might be president. Instead, like Al Gore in 2000, he did the private-school-polite thing by conceeding long before he knew what was going on.
Gregoire looks like a winner in the Washington governor's race because she plays hardball not bean bags.
Wonder what Kerry will do with the $51 million left over? How about devoting it to cleaning up our elections? Get the private companies out and the civil servants back in.
Yesterday, Kerry's lawyer assured America there had been no fraud in Ohio. Whoa Nelly! Karl Rove must be on the floor with laughter. C'mon John. Throw a punch just to show us you can.
December 27, 2004
Government Destruction Act
While the likes of Bradley Foundation fellow Charlie Sykes bleat on and on and on about the taxpayer's bill of rights (TABOR), they never deal with solutions to our problems. The only thing they seem to care about is cutting taxes. They don't mind if you and I pay taxes on toll booths, sales taxes, or fees, but they do not want their wealthy benefactors plunking down their fair share for the public good.
I call TABOR the Government Destruction Act or GDA. It has nothing to do with helping the commonwealth. It does nothing to pay for our university and technical schools; nothing to make sure sick children get their medications; nothing to help give job training to the unemployed or provide help to families with an autistic child. You wonder what went wrong in their lives that they could be so callous as they look around today. Would they vote to send billions to Asia to help after yesterday's tragedy? Or is that none of our business?
GDA I call it, and the voters of this state will reject it when they get a chance.
December 26, 2004
Packers are okay
We rarely deal with sports qua sports but the Packer victory over the Vikings Friday was perhaps the best comeback win I have ever seen. The team may not go too far in the playoffs but they deserve a standing ovation for winning the division championship.
Tomorrow it will be back to politics, but now and then it is fun to divert.
Congratulations to the only publicly owned team in pro sports. Super Bowl?
December 25, 2004
We should pause today and think about the 152,000 troops in Iraq and then wonder what they are thinking when Christians in Iraq have decided it is too dangerous to gather at Mass. "We are frightened," said one Iraqi Christian, "People are afraid to come to church."
The Washington Post reports that the 800,000 Christians have "lived peacefully among the Muslim majority for hundreds of years in Iraq. We used to live...together, study together and work together. Now the situation is different." Many Christians took the dangerous trip to Syria so they could celebrate Christmas.
And here at home Fox News has us in a twitter because some stores do not say "Merry Christmas?" C'mon. Let's think about how we get our troops out of Iraq. That should be our Christmas present to them.
December 24, 2004
Outsourcing for a reason?
Only someone from Mars would be unaware of the voting scandal in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004. We may never know who was really elected president. A large part of the problem rests with the privatization of the voting process from compiling and culling lists to touch-screen machines that leave no paper trail. Stealing an election used to be hard work. Now it can be done through the Internet.
So, good old Wisconsin with same-day registration, no hanging chads, no Diebold computers, does what? Kevin Kennedy signed a contract with an Arthur Anderson clone, Accenture, to compile our lists. For how much? $9.3 million to start and a mere four or five million more to maintain the lists. Will Accenture, with its sole ficuciary duty owed to shareholders, keep those lists in a safe place or might they be shared in the future? And, do you think we could compile this list for less than $9 million?
In the interest of full disclosure, my law firm filed suit yesterday on behalf of a diverse group of citizens who think this was not only a bad idea but that it was not within the authority of the executive director of the Elections Board to sign the deal all by himself. They are asking the court to void the deal and start over. Keep your eyes open on this one.
December 23, 2004
Say it ain't so, Dane
Read Jack Lohman's article posted on our site for a Republican's honest view of why Democrats lost in November. One line, "As the Democrats devour each other and wonder why...they are no longer the party that is for the people and against the special interests." Strong stuff. Read the article on the impact of TABOR in Colorado; think about the outsourcing going on in Wisconsin under a Democratic administration.
Focus on Iraq, property taxes, our enviornmental problems and then ask what are Dane County Democrats thinking about when they declare war on Greens and Progressive Dane at the city council level? Huh? We should shoot at our allies when we will need every friend we have to defeat the government destruction act called TABOR? Think John Gard, Glenn Grothman, Charlie Sykes. Don't think about going after the Greens. Democrats should adopt the Green platform, embrace Progressive Dane, and rebuild the coaltion.
C'mon folks. We are in way too deep to worry about whether our neighbors are bailing water as fast as we are.
December 22, 2004
Whose fault is it?
The news from Iraq is horrendous. Fourteen soldiers killed as they sat down to eat and 60 seriously injured.
Meanwhile, the ACLU released government documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request showing that detainee abuse was widespread and awful. How bad? An FBI cable called it "torture." Torture. America engaged in systematic torture? Vince Lombardi's question from the sidelines in that famous piece of video was, "What the hell is going on?" And it was not a question.
Mark Shields, writing in the Washington Post and dealing with Rumsfeld's excuse for not properly arming our troops, reminds us that "three years after Pearl Harbor, our nation of 132 million people built 296,429 aircraft, 102,351 tanks, 87,620 warships, 2,455,694 trucks. Compare those heroic achievements with the current dismal supply record as the U.S. war in Iraq is fast approaching its third year." Shields says it is "incompetence or indifference of this nation's civilian leadership of the war."
Who is the incompetent official in charge? Could it be our president or vice-president? How about the Secretary of Defense? We all know the answer, but where are the Democratic voices in Congress? It is obvious that Bush does not have a clue when he responds to the tragedy in the mess tent with this non-sequitor: "I'm confident democracy will prevail in Iraq." Whoa Nelly!
This thing is unwinding. Too few troops, not enough armor, no civilian leadership, an enemy who cannot be identified by soldiers who cannot speak the language. A forumula for disaster. Mark Shields understates.
December 21, 2004
Cost of War
Seymour Melman died at age 86. Melman, an economist at Columbia, was the first scholar to look at the real cost of war. The New York Times points out that in his 1974 book, The Permanent War Economy, Melman compared the cost of one Huey helicopter and low-priced homes. He concluded he could by 66 homes. A $69 million reduction in child-nutrition programs matched the cost of two destroyer escorts, and so it goes.
Melman's friend Marcus Raskin said, "His work changed the debate in the peace movement to much broader issues." And he did this as professor, co-chair of SANE, and a dedicated citizen. Thank you, Seymour Melman.
Today in our Links section you may click Cost of War and understand the debate Mellman started. We have spent more than $151 billion on Iraq thus far. How many teachers could we have hired? Answer: 2,600,000. How many four-year scholarships to the UW? Answer: 7,328,000. (Classes might have been a little crowded.)
The debate on this travesty in Iraq must start again in 2005. There are 1,300 soldiers killed, 21,000 injured for life, 100,000 Iraqi deaths, schools closing here, tuition rising...Thanks again, Seymour.
December 20, 2004
Kleczka walks quietly
The MJS has a good story on the departure from Washington of Jerry Kleczka. The last time I saw Jerry was during a fundraiser for Paul Wellstone. Jerry and Paul agreed on most issues, including opposition to the Iraq invasion.
Jerry is moving to Middleton, thus distinguishing himself from almost all former members of Congress who remain in Washington. Frankly, it is not surprising that he would prefer Wisconsin.
Thank you, Congressman Kleczka, for a job well done. We need more Kleczkas. Dave Obey said it well: "Jerry's strength was that he was a working-class Democrat who never forgot that he represented a working class district. People knew he was on their side." Cannot ask for much more than that.
December 19, 2004
On November 28, GarveyBlog dealt with some strange news. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation found that it was much cheaper to handle engineering matters in-house than it was to contract out. The Doyle administration didn't like that finding and immediately announced that the opposite is true.
Now it turns out that the information from DOT was not given out voluntarily but in response to an open-records request from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Oh, well," you say? Not so fast, Fridley. Jim Thiel, the lead counsel at DOT since Lassie reruns were on prime time, was demoted over this incident. According to MJS, it took seven months for DOT to respond when the law contemplates ten days to two weeks. That is a "reasonable" time to comply.
According to MJS, Thiel released the material as he is required by law to do when the Doyle administration wanted it sent first to the Department of Administration. Why? To stall? To vet? To alter?
The hallmark of democracy is openness. To demote your lead counsel of 31 years because he followed the law and let us in on the secret is outrageous.
The People's Legislature will take up the growing issue of a lack of openness in our state government when we meet on January 4.
December 18, 2004
Farewell, Bill Moyers
Last night, Bill Moyers, our nation's leading voice for fairness in media, said farewell as he retires from NOW, the best program to hit public television in decades.
The question with the absence of Moyers is, Will PBS become Fox-lite? There is no substitute for Moyers. (Yes, his colleague will carry on with a 30-minute program but he will not have the weight of Moyers in the sea of rightwing critics.)
As prologue, PBS, responding to rightwing pressure from House speaker Dennis Hastert, added the supercilious Tucker Carlson to the Friday-night PBS bill of fare, and will soon add Wall Street Journal's Paul Gigot. One can almost feel the knocking knees of PBS during phase two of Bush World. With Moyers gone, the right can focus on eliminating or taming Frontline and then, folks, you can send your contributions to Democracy Now, FightingBob, and other alternatives.
Thank you, Bill Moyers. What a superb run! A great three years. Keep coming back. As for PBS, now is the time for guts.
December 17, 2004
Here we go!
The People's Legislature was launched yesterday at a quiet news conference at the people's Capitol. The Legislature on January 4 will not be so quiet. It was exciting to stand with Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Libertarians, with the support of Greens, all agreeing that our once-proud political system is corrupt and must be changed.
The building blocks to regain our democracy include public financing of campaigns and fair re-districting to create competitive districts. With nearly 300 advance registrants, we may make my goal of one more person than there are registered lobbyists.
As they say at Indy, "Start your engines!"
December 15, 2004
Vernon County on fire
Last night John Nichols joined me in driving to Viroqua for a dinner-discussion with Vernon County Democrats, Greens, independents and people who are just mad as hell about the war in Iraq, the threat to Social Security, and money in politics. I'm pleased to report that the progressive movement is alive and well in Vernon County.
Possibly the most applause came after this line, "The Green Party platform should be our platform!" The unanswered question is why our congressional Democrats are so timid. End the war, take Social Security off the table, and demand health care as a basic human right. It was a mini-Bob Fest right there in Viroqua.
The insiders scrambling for traditional support to become chair of the state Democratic Party would have benefited from this outpouring. Those in attendance want an activist party not a Madison-based incumbent-protection society.
December 14, 2004
CapTimes and Fighting Bob
Capital Times editor Dave Zweifel reminds us that yesterday was the 87th birthday of the only progressive daily newspaper in the nation. William T. Evjue launched the Capital Times in 1917. Evjue was a great admirer of Fighting Bob and Zweifel generously suggests that Fighting Bob Fest and FightingBob.com share those roots.
Imagine our Capitol with only the Wisconsin State Journal. Egad!
A note of sadness as well. The Cap Times explained, in a sensitive story by Rob Zaleski, that one-time Cap Times reporter and legendary Wisconsin Senator Bill Proxmire is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. We send our very best to Ellen Proxmire in a difficult time.
December 13, 2004
One year ago
Saddam was captured one year ago today. That was supposed to be a significant turning point and it got Howard Dean in trouble when he said, "America is no safer because of Saddam's capture." The media roasted him and the Bush administration essentially questioned his patriotism. Dean was right.
Over the weekend seven Marines were killed in combat. Today a bomb exploded at the Green Zone gate killing nine Iraqis. We have more troops in Iraq or headed for Iraq than we had during Rummy's shock & awe campaign. Yes, Howard Dean was right.
Check our link to Cost of War. Thus far this country has spent $149,850,434,900 in Iraq. (And our troops are still driving trucks without armor.) With our proportionate share, we could have hired 43,500 public school teachers in Wisconsin. Instead, school districts are in hiring freeze mode, homeless shelters are full, we have another budget shortfall. Yup, Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich were right. But there is no comfort in knowing that for the families of nearly 1,300 dead soldiers and 100,000 Iraqi civilians.
December 12, 2004
Elections in Iraq
Nearly every news story about Iraq begins with something like this: "American soldiers were attacked by insurgents who are dedicated to derailing next month's elections." The clear message is that if the elections are held, the insurgents lose. So, it follows that the insurgents must be fighting only to stop the elections. Who says? Why, the media.
The problem with this logic is that we have heard similar bromides before from "shock and awe" to "we got him." The latter when Saddam was captured and the commander of our troops said that was a killer psychological blow to the insurgency. We heard it from the deck of the aircraft carrier Lincoln, we heard it throughout the presidential campaign.
Do we think the insurgents are unaware of "old man" Rumsfeld's incredible put-down of his soldiers and the impact on troop morale? (What would Sykes and Limbaugh have said if Clinton's Secretary of Defense had said what Rummy said?)
What is the plan? If the elections take place and a theocracy is established, are we ready to leave? If the new government tells us to leave will we go? The longer this goes on the worse it becomes.
December 11, 2004
Dems want two for one?
The Wisconsin Democratic Party has many strengths, but nearly all of them reside at the county level--Price, Rusk, Douglas, Washburn, Dane and others. But the top-down, insider-ruled state party is the scourge of those who seek office.
The state party is little more than a conduit for in-state and out-of-state campaign contributions. The party does little in terms of recruitment, training and funding for non-incumbent candidates, but they love to have lots and lots of meetings. Just try to reach one of them on the phone.
It has been more than a decade since Dems picked up more legislative seats in an election cycle than they lost. Even this year, with all the enthusiasm of the presidential primary and election, the Republicans gained seats. Now the Assembly and Senate are dangerously close to being veto-proof, and that means concealed weapons, reduced services, and more.
There has been no grass-roots strategy, no involvement in battles to save our environment or to stop Wal-Mart, little tolerance of outsiders in the heady atmosphere of the state party headquarters. The closed atmosphere surrouding the governor's office is a reflection of the closed party which has been dominated for 20 years by Madison incumbents.
The anwer to this problem? Lobbyist and former legislator Joe Wineke and current chair Linda Honold will run as a team. Whoa Nelly! Where can we get the yard signs? When things are going badly, why not more of the same?
December 10, 2004
Better to light one candle
....than to curse the darkness. One National Guard soldier asked a question of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and suddenly the emperor had no clothes. Rumsfeld couldn't handle it. This was not a staged Pentagon news briefing where the compliant reporters arrive to write down the great words that will surely flow from the leaders. No, this was a gathering of people who will be risking their lives for a cause Rumsfeld cannot explain.
Can you imagine what would have happened with a real open forum? How about Rumsfeld going to Walter Reed Hospital to have a discussion with the wounded?
Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois wrote, "This adminstration has received every dollar they have asked for from Congress. So, the money has been there." Why, he asked, was the soldier correct in stating that they comb landfills for scrap metal to protect themselves?
This war is such a tragedy it is hard to sum up the mistakes, lies, distortions and reckless behavior on the part of the administration. Now, perhaps, the soldiers will speak out to expose the disaster unfolding all around them. Time to bring them home.
December 9, 2004
Lassa vs. Rongstad
The Court of Appeals, District IV, has certified the Lassa vs. Todd Rongstad case to the state Supreme Court for decision. The Court of Appeals concluded that there were a number of unique issues raised in the case and that a decision by the Supreme Court would be appropriate.
For the sake of disclosure I should tell you that the Garvey & Stoddard law firm handled the case on behalf of Senator Lassa. We are pleased the case has been sent to the Supreme Court. Had the Court of Appeals ruled, chances were 100 percent that the decision would have been appealed in any event.
Can you believe it?
A secretary of Defense on a visit to improve his image opened the floor to questions from soldiers who are understandably concerned about going into Iraq. The arrogant Rummy could not imagine any soldier questioning him, but they sure did. Indeed, they did much better than the reporters who do that for a living.
Why do "soldiers have to search in dumps to find armor to protect themselves?" Rummy's response was unbelievable. Looking at courageous young people about to go into battle, he opined, "You go to war with the army you've got. Not the army you want." Words to inspire.
General Barry McCaffrey responded, "I am disappointed in Rumsfeld's answer. Eleven thousand have been killed or injured. He was surprisingly unresponsive."
General, you are on the money.
December 8, 2004
Bill of Rights?
While the People's Legislature will focus primarily on structural changes needed to regain our democracy, the idea of the so-called Taxpaper's Bill of Rights is a process issue as well. Will we, by constitutional amendment, simply eliminate the role of the Legislature in making policy and paying for those policies?
If you are curious about how TABOR would impact Wisconsin, read the article by Jacob Herrera, "Colorado on my mind." The People's Legislature cannot, in my view, ignore this looming threat. But, who knows. That is why it is the "People's" Legislature.
December 7, 2004
We're number one
The famliar chant heard at sports events was heard throughout Wisconsin yesterday as news broke that Wisconsin leads the nation in arrests. Way to go team! Bruce Murphy wrote the story in MJS. Wisconsin law enforcement officials arrested 8,286 per 100,000 compared with the national average of 4,839.
And we are number one in juvenile arrests. This is disturbing news and people other than legislators should look deeply into this incredible report.
While many of the arrests are for "low-level offenses," according to David Steingraber of the Office of Justice Assistance, the fact remains that once a youngster is arrested he or she could be on the way to more trouble in the criminal justice system. The first person I met in Supermax was in prison for driving without a license. Hardly the type of offense one thinks of when Supermax prison comes up in conversation. How did he get a trip to Boscobel? Got into trouble with a guard. Happens all the time.
The Attorney General might consider a task force to figure out why we lead in arrests and why prison building is one of our growth industries. Time to change our license plates? "Come to Wisconsin: Stay at our expense."
December 5, 2004
Be careful not to win
It is okay for environmentalists to challenge the PSC or the utilitiy lawyers who guide it, but they should make sure not to win because the big boys get angry. We reported on the Clean Wisconsin victory over Wisconsin Energy where Dane County Circuit Court Judge David Flanagan, in a carefully reasoned opinion, held, in essence, that the PSC did not do what it was supposed to do. The result? Wisconsin Energy must start over and the PSC must work in the public's interest.
Well, not so fast. WE chair Gale Klappa, in an interview with the MJS, opines that "progress in terms of improving infrastructure in Wisconsin is dead." Turn out the lights the party is over. Here is the exciting news. Klappa says the Arrowhead-Weston extension cord is also dead. Let's hope he is right.
What happens when the Big Boys get caught violating the rules? You guessed it. After assuring us the sky is falling, they demand that the rules change. One piece of legislation on the drawing boards is to elminate the requirement that the utilities propose alternative sites. I'm not making this up.
Why don't we just elminate the PSC, delete all environemental protections and simply ask the utilities to be kind and good?
December 4, 2004
In case you haven't noticed, we now have a page on our site for the upcoming People's Legislature. Check it out, register, give us your agenda items and plan to join your friends on January 4.
Lots of people have volunteered time to put this happening together, including Nino Amato, Carol Lobes, Gail Lamberty, Mike McCabbe, Hiroshi and Arlene Kanno. Our prelminary thinking is to first establish the essential building blocks to democracy. We all agree we have lost the progressive government we once bragged about, and in fact we have lost our democracy. Too much money in too few hands. Assembly and Senate districts so weighted in favor of incumbents that more than two million of us in Wisconsin had no choice for Assembly or Senate in the last election. Now, that is ridiculous.
Send us your ideas. We make only one promise: This will be fun. Things are too serious for us to get serious.
December 3, 2004
The enemy of democracy is secrecy. We have seen plenty of it in Wisconsin lately, from a secretive development corporation in Beaver Dam spending tax dollars without accountability, to the Public Service Commission staff dealing with utility lawyers in private.
Now we turn to the state Elections Board, a body designed by the Democrats and Republicans to fail, where staff entered into a multi-million dollar contract with a company with a horrendous reputation. A contract to do what? Compile our voter list. Why? The lame explanation is that the state does not have the capacity to compile these lists. That is utter nonsense.
At the People's Legislature on January 4 we will discuss the question of openness. Who knew about this contract? Corporations bidding on the work; the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties; the governor, the speaker of the Assembly, but not the media. And if the media does not know, the people do not have a clue. But staff members at the Elections Board have criticized the protesters for being "Johnny-come-latelys" for not raising the issue before the contract was signed. I'm not making this up.
Efforts are continuing to void this contract. Stay tuned.
December 2, 2004
Supermax hit again
In a remarkable decision in Federal District Court, Judge Barbara Crabb presiding, a jury awarded a Supermax inmate $50,000 in compensatory damages because the prison denied him food for 15 days as punishment. Inmates were required to stand at attention in the middle of their cell at meal time and food was withheld if they did not.
In addition, the jury awarded $1.2 million in punitive damages to the plaintiff. That ought to send a strong message to the state.
Madison attorneys Sarah Walkenhorst and David Harth go right into the Hall of Fame for this victory. A key witness was FightingBob.com favorite Dr. Linda Farley.
PSC or USC?
Is it the Public Service Commission or Utilities Service Commission? PSC vs. USC. We have commented extensively on FightingBob.com about the control the utilities and their lawyers have over the once-proud commission created to protect rate payers. The blame for the Ave Bie era fell squarely on the shoulders of Tommy Thompson and Scott McCallum. But, as we learned on innauguration day, "This is a New Day."
Well, now we have the Doyle dominated PSC. He has appointed the chair, Burnie Bridge, and Mark Meyer. Burt Garvin remains as the Thompson hold-over. So, two votes Doyle and one vote Thompson. How is the Doyle majority doing?
Within hours of the decision by Judge David Flanagan to send the Oak Creek coal-fired plant back to square one, Doyle's PSC announced a unanimous decision to appeal. Flanagan ruled in part that the PSC failed to protect the public by allowing the utility to proceed before environmental studies had been completed. Hours later, the attorneys for the utility announced, surprise, surprise, they would join the PSC in appealing. Is this not more than a little embarassing? PSC, where is your pride? Does mercury poisoning bother you just a tad?
Wouldn't you think the PSC might take time to study the decision before appealing? How about a public hearing? Is it impossible to think there can really be a "new day" in the PSC-USC? C'mon folks. (For the sake of full disclosure, I should tell you that my colleague Pam McGillivray is counsel to Clean Wisconsin on this case.)
December 1, 2004
The wages of war
I want to discuss the Elections Board scandal involving those on the board, those who appointed them, and the staff. Someone should have spoken out. We have Democrats, Republicans, a Libertarian, and an appointee of the chief justice of the state Supreme Court. No one said anything. You know, something like, "Should we tell the public and the media that we are privatizing our voter lists?"
What was the motion and who made it? Did executive director Kevin Kennedy speak out? Was the governor napping?
That decision will be revisited today. Don't get too excited awaiting the announcement from the board that "We are right and protesters are wrong."
But something overwhelming takes me from that weighty subject. Yesterday, 16 names of soldiers killed in Iraq were listed; average age--21.3. What were you doing when you were 21? Just fell in love, bought your first home, graduated from college? You remember. Then think about those 16 twenty-one-year-old kids dying in a land where they cannot understand the mission, the language, the culture. There were 135 American soldiers killed in November.
Time to get out of that mess. Now! Bring those troops home, President Bush. How? You got elected, so figure it out.