Tuesday, January 23, 2007



Saturday, December 30, 2006

Posts of the Year, 2006

This year represented my third full calendar year of blogging. It was also the year I suspended the Daily Aneurysm in favor of doing all my current-events blogging at Best of the Blogs because the traffic is higher there. The switch to BotB cost us the contributions of Tom Herbst, who posted occasionally in this space for about a year. We haven't heard from Tom, either via e-mail or in the comments, for a good long while, but I'm hoping he's still out there somewhere, flying his liberal flag in Pennsylvania, where it's needed: After all, Pennsylvania is a place James Carville once described as Pittsburgh on one end and Philadelphia on the other with Alabama in the middle. A couple of Tom's nuggets of wisdom appear on this list of my favorite posts of 2006:

January 12: "We may have reached a new low in American dumbitude, given that the big story to come out of the Alito hearings yesterday was that the mean Democrats made Mrs. Alito cry. Except they didn't. It was South Carolina Repug Senator Lindsey Graham who did, by repeating something a Democrat had said about her husband, or some such damn thing. (I confess I haven't spent a lot of time investigating this story on my own because I am afraid that if I get too close to it, I will get stupidity cooties.)"

January 16: "[T]he opinions of the general run of white people--who know about black American life on a second-hand basis at best--are not entirely reliable. So when you hear that 78 percent of white Americans think that significant progress has been made toward racial equality in the United States, consider the source--and then take note that among black Americans, the figure is 66 percent. The same poll notes, interestingly enough, that more suburbanites believe in progress than urbanites, and more Republicans than Democrats. In other words--if you neither are, nor live with, nor make common cause politically with black Americans, you are more likely to believe progress is being made toward racial equality. You probably could have predicted that without a poll."

January 30: "It's striking that every event that 'changes everything' involves waking us from our national complacency, rather than ushering in a bold era of societal enlightenment. 'Where were you when society as a whole realized that everyone deserves a living wage?' That would be a moment worth remembering." (by Tom Herbst)

March 7: "Honestly, I have no problem linking Dubya to Reagan, since in my view Dubya is the only thing keeping Reagan from being the worst President since Nixon, so right off the bat they're in the same genre. But to stuff Dubya's empty skull and Reagan's corpse full of gold, frankincense, and myrrh seems, well, a little over the top. . . . One can't help note that [Professor Paul Kengor, author of God and Ronald Reagan and God and George W. Bush] has bounced right over our 41st and 42nd Presidents. Presumably that's because there's little money to be made on the piety of Bush the Elder, and even less on the divinity of Clinton. Of course, Clinton has that certain Zeus-like priapic vibe going for him, so maybe there's a book to be had there after all." (by Tom Herbst)

March 19: "Bush can give all the speeches he wants talking about victory, but there are certain facts of history at work here, and more rhetorical dishwater, no matter how vigorously applied, is not going to change them. Not counting the Revolutionary War, every war the United States has ever won was largely over by the three-year mark. The first Gulf War lasted 100 days; the Mexican War lasted two years; the Spanish-American War, three months. Official American involvement in World War I lasted about 18 months. Three years after Pearl Harbor, the forces that invaded Europe on D-Day were rolling up the Germans; victory, while not entirely secure, was in sight. The three-year benchmark even holds for the Civil War. Three years after the war's first major battle, Bull Run in July 1861, Union armies commanded by Ulysses S. Grant were irrevocably on the offensive, an offensive that would end at Appomattox Court House. Even the wars that ended inconclusively, such as the War of 1812 and the Korean War, didn't last three years. Only in Vietnam--the war we lost--did the war drag on for more than three years. (Of course, the list lengthens if you count other losing wars, like the war on drugs or the war on poverty.) Fact: It doesn't take us this long to win wars we're going to win."

March 22: "Cops in Texas have begun going into bars undercover to arrest people who are drunk. I suppose you gotta give them credit for picking the berries where the bushes are the thickest, but this seems a wee bit off. . . . [I]f cops can go into bars looking for drunks, it doesn't seem all that far-fetched that they could, if they chose, drop by your house whenever they wanted to, just to make sure you're not sitting in front of the TV ripped to the tits on $3 chardonnay."

April 13: "[Y]ou already know the argument: Liberals are out to take Easter away from honest, God-fearing Americans who want to celebrate the torture killing of a shadowy figure from first-century Palestine by hiding chocolate eggs and Marshmallow Peeps for their children to find, all the while telling the kids that the candy has been hidden by a giant rabbit."

April 16: "When cable TV news producers dream, they dream of weekends like this: On Thursday, a little girl gets eaten by a bear. On Friday, a suspected cannibal is arrested in Oklahoma. On the same day, the cat trapped in a New York City building for two weeks is rescued. Yesterday, there's an arrest in the Natalee Holloway case. If Angelina Jolie or Katie Holmes gives birth today, the Rapture could happen and they'd never notice."

April 26: "[Republican candidate for Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says] 'There are terrorists training in Wisconsin, except that they're not physically training, or doing anything you would hear or see, and they aren't doing anything illegal.' Well, by that definition, if you're standing in the bathroom scratching your ass, you're doing more evil than the terrorists are."

June 6: "If you think that you're going to be raptured out of here any minute, you'd treat this planet about like we're treating it now. You wouldn't care all that much about the environment, because what's the point in preserving it if it's going to be burnt to a cinder pretty soon anyhow? Why not use it up? You'd oppose energy conservation for the same reason. Why worry about leaving oil in the tank? You wouldn't worry about rising national debts or your country's image in the world. You might even push hysterical social programs like same-sex marriage bans and moral indoctrination masquerading as sex education, caring not a whit about the long-term social damage they do to your fellow humans, because you want your ducks in a row when Jesus comes back." (This post was featured at the Carnival of the Godless.)

June 19: "[C]ertain overarching facts do not change. There is always going to be a percentage of the population that wants to medicate itself illegally, and 80 years of throwing their asses in jail hasn't changed a thing. If you think that might suggest the wisdom of taking a different approach to the problem of drug abuse, you'd be right. If you think that such wisdom is likely to prevail in the United States anytime soon, you're probably smoking crack right now."

July 14: "The broad philosophical outline of the House debate essentially shook down to the stand taken by Georgia representative Lynn Westmoreland, who argued that in the Voting Rights Act, Southern states are still being punished for their sins of 40 years ago, and that times have changed. Except they haven't. Just yesterday, Georgia's controversial voter ID law was tossed by a judge again. The law is a thinly-disguised poll tax, because people would be required to pay for an acceptable form of ID. Plus, the attitudes that made the Voting Rights Act necessary haven't gone away. I know it; you know it. We're not past the Civil Rights Era yet. Hell, we're not past the Civil War era yet."

(A server crash at BotB in early December caused about three months' worth of archives to vanish into the ozone, so I can't link to the original versions of the following several posts. Instead of admiring my rhetorical mojo in its entirety, you'll have to settle for excerpts.)

August 11: "When you're standing in line at the airport today, and when they take your bottle of water away from you--because they consider you a potential terrorist until you prove otherwise--the reason you're in that line is because the terrorists really are winning. Instead of taking [strategic long-term steps] to make us safer . . . our leaders, our self-proclaimed tough and pragmatic fighters of evil, are wetting their pants with fear like five-year-old girls."

August 21: "One woman quoted in the story [about the switch from country to R&B at KZLA, Los Angeles] said, 'I think it's racist. This is becoming a nation of minorities. I'm not going to turn on my radio anymore. Country music promotes patriotism and family values, and they've replaced it with something that just promotes money and hate.' You'd be hard-pressed to find four sentences that better encapsulate our current culture wars. You've got A) a white person claiming to be the victim of racism; B) the demonstrably correct statement that the country is becoming a nation of minorities, but made with the conviction that the situation is highly regrettable; C) the insistence that country music is a bastion of 'patriotism and family values,' as if non-whites are incapable of valuing their families; and D) the insistence, likely without having heard note one of it, that beat-heavy R&B and dance tunes automatically promote materialism and hatred. That part is true, to a point: some R&B/dance songs do indeed promote values that run counter to what some people believe in--just as some country songs glorify alcohol, adultery, and anti-intellectualism, which runs counter to the values of others." (A somewhat different version of this post appeared at The Hits Just Keep On Comin'.)

August 22: "My town (Madison, Wisconsin) is all abuzz over a Nazi rally coming to the steps of the State Capitol this Saturday. When The Mrs. first mentioned this to me, I asked, 'Real Nazis, or just Republicans?' But it's real Nazis, or what passes for them these days, and the rally has become a very big deal. . . . The rally is being organized by the Madison, Green Bay, and Milwaukee branches of a Minnesota-based Nazi group. So they're not merely Nazis--they're MINNESOTA Nazis. To paraphrase Elwood Blues, I hate Minnesota Nazis."

August 25: "In Colorado, it's not enough for the American flag savers to preserve the American flag--it's apparently necessary for them to hide the flags of other countries, as if love of country were a zero-sum game, or as if some kid pledging allegiance to the American flag would accidentally pledge allegiance to the Chinese flag and become a Communist."

August 30: "[T]he religious and cultural stupidity [of railing against the phrase 'happy holidays'] is one thing--the linguistic stupidity is another. There's more than one holiday at the end of the year, even for Christians. (Coming next: the War on Plurals.)"

October 22: "Many Americans confuse things with what they represent. So the act of burning a flag, for instance, is perceived as doing actual damage to the country. Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell are important symbols of this country's ideals, but they are, after all, just symbols. Even if the symbols were destroyed, the ideals would endure. But in the United States at this moment, as The Mrs. deftly put it this morning, 'We're preserving the symbols but destroying the ideals.'"

November 1: "A friend e-mails this morning: 'What can we do to get John Kerry to go away?' My response: 'Two percent in the 2008 Iowa caucuses ought to do it.'"

November 19: "When historians start writing the history of this era, George W. Bush will get all the attention James Buchanan gets in histories of the Civil War--he'll be remembered as someone badly out of his depth, a placeholder who had little impact, and what impact he had was generally for the worse. Cheney's the figure who will fascinate historians 100 years hence. His malevolent spirit will preside over this era in memory like Lincoln's presides over the Civil War Era. Like Lincoln, Cheney will be studied as the one who had the brains, the philosophical grounding, and most of all, the necessary chutzpah to frame the enterprise for everyone else. Like Lincoln, he's the indispensable personality of the era--the one without whom nothing happens the way it did."

December 18: "The greatest pleasures of this life come from our relationships with other people, and it's not wrong to celebrate that and that alone. And not only that: Christmas is the time of year when we are most like the people we want to be--and given the way we are the other 11 months of the year, the mere fact that our aspiration to be better people still exists is worth celebrating, too."

Some other posts I'm especially proud of this year include:
Empty Streets


Left Behind

We Say It, You Learn It, That Settles It
Some favorite post titles this year include:
The State of the Union Is Blotto

Cub Scouts Unbuckle, Open Fire

Jesus Doesn't Love You, He Thinks You're a Jerk

If Everyone Hates You, You're Not Necessarily Right--Maybe You're Just Really, Really Wrong
My favorite post of the year, however, is one I can't link you to directly--it, too, perished in the server crash at Best of the Blogs. It's about my favorite historical figure, Abraham Lincoln, and this summer's Lincoln-centric presidential reading list. The post, which appeared at BotB on August 5, was called "Two Presidents, Talking."
Today, the White House released Bush's reading list for his vacation. It reportedly includes the following:
Polio: An American Story by David M. Oshinsky

Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power by Richard Carwardine

Lincoln's Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural, by Ronald C. White Jr.
I''m guessing that Bush is reading Lincoln's Greatest Speech first. After all, it's the shortest. That the least-eloquent president of our lifetimes is reading about the most eloquent president in history is intriguing--but that he's reading about the Second Inaugural is even more interesting. Lincoln's Second Inaugural, after all, is the most fearsome speech ever given by an American politician. It's a speech no modern American politician would have the stones to give--especially not George W. Bush.

In the speech, delivered as a war nobody expected to be so hard ground toward the end of its fourth year, Lincoln did urge his audience to "stay the course," in his way: "let us strive on to finish the work we are in." But his speech was not a rehash of the same platitudes he'd been repeating since the war began; neither did it promise that "striving on to finish the work we are in" would automatically result in victory. In fact, he told his audience that victory was by no means assured. The end, whatever the end was going to be, was beyond his--or any American's--control. He even went so far as to say that if it were God's will that the United States be destroyed as expiation for its sins, then there was nothing anyone could or should do but accept the punishment, for it was surely just.

It is likely that Bush's interest in the Second Inaugural is sparked by the rich religious language of the speech. Although Lincoln frequently used religious language and imagery in public addresses, the Second Inaugural is the most theologically loaded of his major speeches. But unlike Bush's theology, which is based on simple certainties, Lincoln's theology was ambiguous at best. As a young man, Lincoln famously scoffed at religion. As president, he came to believe that a cataclysm like the Civil War could not happen by accident--that there must be a divine purpose for it (as the Second Inaugural makes clear). So Lincoln became a religious seeker. As his search continued, he frequently said that he hoped to be an instrument of God. He possessed nothing like Bush's certainty that he is an instrument of God. Lincoln's belief in a higher power made him resolute, but his uncertainty about that power's intentions made him adaptable. As a result, he could believe in happy endings, but did not promise them.

And in that, Lincoln and Bush couldn't be more different.
My thanks to all of you who bother with this bilge on a regular basis. I am grateful for your attention and your devotion. I hope that the small steps we've recently taken as a nation toward restoring what we're all about will pick up steam in 2007. And I wish you a happy new year.

(A selection of my favorite quotes of the year is here.)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Quotes of the Year, 2006

This year represented my third full calendar year of blogging. It was also the year I suspended the Daily Aneurysm in favor of doing all my current-events blogging at Best of the Blogs because the traffic is higher there. As usual, the funniest, most pointed, most revealing, and/or truest stuff to appear on my blog came from the mouths, pens, and/or word processors of others. Here are the Quotes of the Year, in chronological order.

The Buffalo Beast, suggesting an appropriate punishment for Barbara Bush, Number 12 on its list of the 50 Most Loathsome Americans of 2005, for downplaying the significance of Hurricane Katrina: "Bound and thrown into Lake Pontchartrain. If she floats, burned at the stake. If she drowns, even better."

P.Z. Myers of Pharyngula, on Bush's opposition to human/animal hybrids, announced in the State of the Union address: "It's pure political calculus. He throws away the mad scientist and pig-man vote, and wins the religious ignoramus vote . . . and we know which one has the majority here."

Russ Feingold: "This administration reacts to any questions about spying on American citizens by saying that those of us who stand up for our rights and freedoms are somehow living in a 'pre-September 11th, 2001 world.' In fact, the President is living in a pre-1776 world."

Journalist Michelle Goldberg, contemplating the march of theocracy: "A feeling that the world is falling apart is usually associated with neurosis; now, it's possible that it's a sign of sanity."

The Rude Pundit, on the mysterious "they" who have promised that further terror attacks on the United States are only a matter of time: "Who the fuck is the 'they' there? Intelligence analysts? His cabinet? Or are 'they' the terrorists themselves? 'Cause, like, that'd mean that a bunch of sexually repressed crazed religious fundamentalists are setting our foreign policy and dictating massive spending and loss of life on the part of the United States and . . . oh, fuck, the irony just made the Rude Pundit's nuts retreat into his body cavity in fear."

Stephen Colbert, at the White House Correspondents' Dinner: "Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the Decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction!"

Daily Kos diarist WorldCan'tWait on the culture wars: "At its most basic level it's a lot of lazy fucking parents who need the government to bring up their kids for them. Too bad they don't get a clue and take personal responsibility for it. Hint. If you don't want your kids being 'manipulated' by junk mass culture, take them to a museum, buy them copies of Emily Dickinson and Shakespeare, take them camping. You don't need a theocracy because American Idol sucks."

Tom DeLay, explaining the Columbine massacre: "Guns have little or nothing to do with juvenile violence. The causes of youth violence are working parents who put their kids into daycare, the teaching of evolution in the schools, and working mothers who take birth control pills."

Anonymous Liberal at Glenn Greenwald's Unclaimed Territory (which is quite likely the best blog on the Internet--either that or Pandagon): "[A]ccording to one study, there were only 45 reported flag burning incidents in the first 200 years of the republic. . . . That means there are probably more historical incidents of witch-burning than flag-burning. Maybe we should start debating the Witch Protection Amendment."

Daily Kos contributor Thereisnospoon on Ned Lamont's primary victory: "In one corner, you had a bunch of unpaid volunteers, Internet rabble-rousers, and an inexperienced politician whose highest post had been County Selectman. In the other, you had the three-time Senator, former vice-presidential candidate, visible party statesman, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer . . . the slick ad money, the top DLC consultants, and a 3 to 1 budget gap. I'm sorry. That's not David vs. Goliath. This isn't even the NBA champions versus a rec league team. That's more like an ant vs. my shoe."

Garrett Epps, in Salon: "George W. Bush is Lincoln the way Dan Quayle is Jack Kennedy."

Charlie Crist, Republican candidate for Florida governor, in a debate: Marriage is a sacred institution "like I had, before I got divorced."

Tristero at Hullabaloo, on the difficulty many American leaders seem to have with the concept of traveling abroad: "[W]hy on earth would you want to do that? Something wrong with the USA? You're in the best country in the world! And you want Italian, hey, we got Domino's Pizza, fine American pizza just as good as that fancy stuff they make over in Rome or Barcelona or wherever. And Domino's delivers."

The top Quote of the Year--the one that encapsulates the year just past better than any other--comes from journalist David Samuels, in Harper's, backstage at the Super Bowl: "[The] free-floating weirdness of American life will always escape any attempt to make us seem like a normal country rather than a furious human-wave assault on the farthest shores of reality."

We may have to retire the title of "top quote of the year"--Samuels' observation is likely to resonate for many years to come.

(A roundup of my favorite posts of the year is coming later this week.)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Gone Blue

Just a few comments on the races in Wisconsin, where I live now, and Iowa, where I lived for most of the 80s and 90s:

Republican J.B. Van Hollen pulled out the attorney general's race up here by 9,000 votes out of 2.1 million cast, beating Dane County executive Kathleen Falk in a race that wasn't called officially until 6:15 this morning. Van Hollen, a 2002 Bush appointee to the U.S. attorney's office for western Wisconsin, paints himself as a tough prosecutor--which, coming from a Republican, means lock 'em all up and throw away the key, even it if mean we have to build prisons on every street corner to do it, with money borrowed from the Chinese because the state doesn't have enough. From Van Hollen, it also means extra vigilance against terrorists, who want to contaminate the precious bodily fluids of Wisconsin's children, or something. What it means most of all is that every decision Van Hollen makes as AG, every press conference he holds, will be with an eye toward the 2010 governor's race.

The advisory referendum on the death penalty passed here also, by something like 59-41 percent. Because newly reelected Governor Doyle would have to sign the law, and he won't, capital punishment will not be reinstated here until at least 2011--but there will be plenty of demagoguery about "the will of the people" before then, and how Doyle is subverting it. The referendum stipulates that conclusive DNA evidence would be required in order for a death sentence to be passed. That probably made many yes voters feel more comfortable with capital punishment--because using DNA means the punishment will be backed by science--yet I wonder how many of the same yes voters share the general Republican anti-science attitude. How come evolution is a crock but DNA evidence isn't?

Iowa's gone blue again. Not only did Democrats hold the governor's mansion, but they picked up two seats in the House. Dave Loebsack beat Jim Leach, who had served something like 15 terms. Leach's district was redrawn in 2000, removing the more conservative Quad-Cities area and adding the more liberal Iowa City area, and as a result, Leach has been on the bubble for the last three elections. The bubble burst last night. Congressman Jim Nussle left Congress to run for governor--and his seat went Democratic also.

As I write this, news has come down that Donald Rumsfeld is quitting as Secretary of Defense. This is probably at least in part an attempt to shift the news cycle, as Karl Rove likes to do--but you can bet it's also got something to do with the Democratic sweep of the House last night.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Stamps of Approval

Hello again, Best of the Blogs readers. Welcome to Page Two.

I shook hands with Governor Jim Doyle yesterday, as he pressed the flesh outside Camp Randall Stadium before the Badger game. You can't help feeling for Doyle a little bit, if only because the man wears an expression of smiling through pain, as though he'd been suffering from hemorrhoids for 10 years. But he had to be heartened by the long line of people waiting, many of whom wished him luck, which he's going to need.

Doyle got the Wisconsin State Journal's endorsement today, which didn't surprise me all that much. The Journal is pretty Republican most of the time, but they're also prone to occasional bouts of good sense. Doyle's opponent, Green Bay Congressman Mark Green, would have to be a lot more moderate than he's trying to seem on TV to have been a plausible contender for their endorsement.

Although he was one of Tom DeLay's loyal soldiers in Congress, Green has spent a lot of time trying to portray himself as a regular guy with regular views. Example: His new TV ad has gone live in the last couple of days, and I expect to see it a lot during the Packer game this afternoon. It features former gov Tommy Thompson against a white background, describing Wisconsin during his term as a free-market paradise in which jobs went begging because the economy was so prosperous, and where all those welfare freeloaders had been made productive members of society at bayonet point. (Welfare reform was one of Thompson's major accomplishments in office.) The only text that appears in the ad is this: "Green supports stem-cell research." Which is true, except it's the kind of stem-cell research that is the least promising--he opposes embryonic stem-cell research, which brings him straight in line with the wingnuts.

The WSJ also endorsed Repug Dave Magnum over incumbent Tammy Baldwin in the Second Congressional District. They endorsed Magnum in 2004 also, and he lost by nearly 30 points. This year's endorsement, which touts Magnum's centrism (he favors embryonic stem-cell research, for example, and opposes a harsh crackdown on illegal immigration) and criticizes Baldwin as ineffective because she's so far left-of-center. But if Magnum were elected, he'd be just as ineffective, precisely because his views are so far left-of-center in today's Republican Party. Plus, as I've already said, he'd be a backbencher in what could be the minority party.

I am a huge fan of Baldwin's, because I've never been represented by a legislator whose votes so consistenly reflect my own views. But then again, I'm a goddamn pinko atheist.

Also: I've heard from Iowa that the Des Moines Register, the state's largest newspaper, has endorsed Democrat Chet Culver over Congressman Jim Nussle, and in my old Congressional district, Jim Leach over Dave Loebsack. In just as head-scratching a way as the WSJ did with Magnum, the Register touts Leach's moderation, even though as far as the GOP caucus in the House is concerned, moderation went out with high-button shoes. The paper does drop the hammer on Steve King, though, saying it was wrong to have endorsed him in 2002 and 2004, and calling him "an embarrassment to Iowa." Yeah, I'd say so.

Friday, October 27, 2006

As I Was Saying . . .
Welcome to those of you who have clicked over from Best of the Blogs, and to those of you who have stumbled upon this blog by accident. Because not everybody at BotB gives a rip about Wisconsin politics, it seems wise to use the bandwidth over here to handicap the statewide races, based on scattered poll data, good old fashioned hunches, my biennial survey of yard signs, and liberal amounts of bullshit.

Attorney General: We had primaries in both parties for AG this year, which makes this the most consistently entertaining race of 2006 in Wisconsin. The Repug nominee is J.B. Van Hollen, the U.S. attorney for the western district of Wisconsin. Van Hollen is a standard-issue conservative Republican--just pull the string on his back and listen to the stupid. Last summer, he announced that terrorist groups were recruiting and training in Wisconsin, only to backpedal when reporters asked for specifics. He told his primary opponent "you suck," during a live radio debate, and later apologized--for sinking to his opponent's level. The "suck" incident and smirking non-apology apology points up Van Hollen essential immaturity and gross unfitness for prime time. He's way out of his league at the level of statewide politics. His opponent is Dane County (Madison) Executive Kathleen Falk, who was absolutely destroying Van Hollen in early polling, based entirely on her name recognition--she ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2002, and held the highly publicized post of "public intervenor" for the state Department of Natural Resources before becoming county exec--a position later abolished by the governor in part, it's said, because of Falk's success in fighting corporations who wanted to ravage the environment for the sake of economic growth. But the latest polling shows Falk's lead down to six points, and I expect Van Hollen to win. If so, his campaign for governor will begin the day he's sworn in as attorney general.

U.S. Senate: Herb Kohl is running mostly unopposed, although perennial candidate Robert Gerald Lorge, whose big issue is the threat of Communist China, got the Republican nomination when nobody else wanted it. Green Party nominee Rae Vogeler made news when she was excluded from Wisconsin Public Television's recent debate, even though she's arguably a more serious candidate than Lorge. The only question is whether Kohl breaks 60 percent or not. That, and what the hell anybody sees in Lorge.

Second Congressional District:
Democrat Tammy Baldwin is running for a fifth term; radio station owner Dave Magnum--not his real name, which is Weiss--is running again this time. In 2004, Magnum had the stones to criticize Congress, and Baldwin by extension, for four years of deficit spending, which was actually driven by the Republican majority; this time, he's criticized Baldwin for a recent ranking showing her 424th of 438 members of Congress in influence--and then suggesting he could do better as a first-term backbencher, and in what is likely to be the minority party at that. Recently, he's been running an incoherent and amateurish TV ad criticizing Baldwin for, apparently, being in favor of sexual predators, or something. It's hard to tell. On the other hand, Baldwin has spent nearly nothing on TV ads and avoided appearing with Magnum until relatively recently. She won last time by nearly 30 points; she'll win again by about that much.

Death Penalty Referendum: A poll a couple of weeks ago showed this advisory referendum on restoring it leading by only 50-45, a result promptly blasted by the state senator who's spent his entire legislative career trying to revive capital punishment here. I'm guessing the poll is wrong, too--and I think it will pass by about 60-40 when the votes are actually counted. Whether it becomes law after that depends on the governor's race. If Green wins, it will. If Doyle wins, it won't.

For regular blog posts from me, keep reading Best of the Blogs.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Hello, Now Go Away
Thanks for visiting this blog. There is, however, nothing to see here anymore, so move along. For the latest posts by the author of this blog, click here. Please change your bookmarks.

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