Monday, October 22, 2007

This week in where?

Hi folks,

Just because I had no idea what's been going on in Chile lately, I looked. Guess what?

Chile to expand Antarctic claim after British move -

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- Chile said Monday it will claim an extended portion of the Antarctic seabed to uphold its rights in the face of a similar step by Britain.

Britain last week said it is preparing a claim under a U.N. treaty that allows countries to claim continental shelf up to 350 nautical miles (402 statute miles) off their shores. The treaty also gives countries the right to search for oil and natural gas there.

Earlier treaties allowed countries to claim territory only 200 nautical miles from the coast.

The British claim would extend from the boundaries of the British Antarctic Territory, a land Britain first claimed in 1908, and would conflict with claims by Argentina and Chile.

And so it goes.


Friday, October 19, 2007

World War III? Ready, set, go.

Hi folks,

Okay, this is a bit off the usual Kettle Moraine trail, but World War Three would find us, even here. The President mentioned it the other day:
Bush warns of World War III? - First Read -

In his new conference yesterday, the Washington Post writes, “Bush forecast doomsday if Tehran builds nuclear weapons. ‘We got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel,’ he said. ‘So I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from [having] the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.’”

Anyway, I just wanted to get this little prediction out of my system.

We'll be in Iran before the next election.

W has set up this invasion much more cleverly than he did the invasion of Iraq. We went into Iraq based on his assertions that Iraq had nuclear weapons -- when he knew they didn't.

In the case of Iran, he's made it a lot easier... all we need to show this time is that Iran has the "knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."

Technically, Wisconsin has the knowledge necessary to make nuclear weapons.... so, Iran should be a piece of cake.

And if that's not enough to distract us, his administration is trying to plunk down US missile sites in former Soviet satellite states -- a move Bush/Cheney knew would annoy/terrify the Russians. Remember that whole business about the Russians being paranoid and still under the thumb of former KGB officers? Yeah. They're reaction is pretty predictable.

Somewhere in that mix of scariness, Iran will look like an obvious decision.

Or maybe George believes that if he starts WW III, Jesus will come back in the H-bomb.



Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bellowing and The Howling Class.

Hi folks,

And while I was getting all that "Mark Bellowing Belling" out of my system, it looks like the editorial board at the Journal, in the words of one of our local cheddarsphere bloggers, have finally eaten their Wheaties. A number of our local so-called neo-con whiners have been complaining about Wisconsin's recent slip in tax status down to #39. Boo hoo. And they've been screeching like baby owls about this as if it means no more chewy treats.

Unfortunately, out in the real world, tax rates aren't the only factor determining where companies locate their HQ's -- or any of their other divisions.... that only happens in the blog-universe, where no one has to use real numbers or have their arguments challenged and the satisfaction of whining never seems to end.

Anyway, the link and a snippet from the the Journal Editorial:

Editorial: The howling class

The howlers are barking over Wisconsin's business tax climate, and they have a point, but it would be more productive to build consensus for solutions.

From the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Oct. 15, 2007

Thirty-seven Fortune 500 companies call the Chicago/Milwaukee corridor home - eight in the Milwaukee region alone. Milwaukee is a national leader in business clout by that measure on a per-capita basis. There is a reason for that. It's still a good place to do business.

Um, and locally, let me mention Gehl Co. whose new R&D division placement was secured only partly with the usual tax breaks, but also -- and explicitly -- with the recognition of professional/educational resources available here. If things were really that lousy here, then why would 13.5% of the top 500 companies in the US keep their HQ's here?

Do the Howlers suppose that Miller stayed in Milwaukee out of nostalgia? If they do, they've been eating more than owl-caught mice.

Think about it, we're still ahead of California and New York in terms of tax status and yet some of the remaining 76.5% of major corporations have their HQ's in LA and NYC. Startling.

As usual, thinking about it ruins all the fun of whining.

I was never a fan of Coors, btw, but maybe Miller will straighten out their recipe.


Mark "Bellowing" Belling: not the king-maker of Washington County, thank you.

Hi folks,

Heeeee's baaaaaack sticking his nose into Washington County again.

Not content to let the good people of Washington County make up their own minds, Mark "Bellowing" Belling went on a little rant recently about the dangers of spending our money on educating our kids.

It is, of course, his job to improve his ratings by whatever means necessary. It's his living after all. Bruce Murphy's had to watch him for years, and this little explanation makes a lot of sense.

Mark Belling’s Folly

by Bruce Murphy | Tuesday 9/11/2007

Mark Belling is very smart and can be a savvy media analyst. That confuses people who think he must always have some basis for his opinions. Not really. Mark’s business is show biz. He’s an entertainer, as he freely concedes. He rarely does any reporting, rarely provides any balance on his radio shows and often doesn’t bother to correct his inaccuracies.

So, back to us, Belling bellows about our business in order to pump his ratings and he does it at our expense. Normally, that'd be okay -- but this is important.

The future of the kids who live here is important.

Belling's ratings aren't.

He doesn't live here, work here, or pay taxes here. He doesn't shop here, buy groceries, gas, or beer here -- unless he has a secret mansion on Big Cedar Lake somewhere. He doesn't have kids in school here, doesn't care about our interests or our future, or about what we think is best for our kids.

Still, he does have one thing most of us don't: a TV show.

For some reason, those Sunday morning TV guys always think they know what other people should think and do.

Having a TV show doesn't make him smarter than us, doesn't make him an expert on our kids, schools, education, or on the new global economy we have to get our kids ready for (even if he doesn't -- although I'd love to see his job outsourced to India... we could call it "Sunday Morning with Bangalore and Company") .

It doesn't mean he understands the relation between investing in education and its (huge!) economic payoffs. It doesn't make him an expert on local control of local issues. It doesn't even make him a decent example of common sense.

It makes him a big mouth on TV.

He stomped around Washington County using his TV show years ago when Glenn Grothman ran against Mary Panzer. Now he's acting as if that gives him the right to have his say in our neighborhood schools... and he's actually criticizing Glenn for going soft on... wait, on what again?

On a business savvy and tax-wise study that took some of our smartest and most fiscally conservative neighbors two years to finish??

Uh, right.

Let's not confuse a common sense approach to spending our money on our kids with Mr. Belling's bellowing for ratings.

I'm just thinking out loud, of course.


Monday, October 15, 2007

White House: "More Study Needed" on Gore Nobel

Uncertain Principles: White House: "More Study Needed" on Gore Nobel

(WASHINGTON, DC) On the heels of reports from Oslo that the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded jointly to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and former US Vice President Al Gore, a White House spokesman issued a statement saying that "significant uncertainty" remained regarding the recipient of the prize.

"The President feels that at this time, it's too early to say for sure whether Al Gore has won the Peace prize," said White House spokesman Scott Stencil. "The science is just not conclusive yet. The President feels that more study is needed before we agree that this honor has been conferred to the former Vice President."

That should be enough of that.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

An amusement from Mr. Borowitz. Nobel Prizes and elections.

From The Borowitz Report .

Sunday , October 14, 2007
Get The Borowitz Report on your desktop RSS Feed

Supreme Court Gives Gore’s Nobel to Bush

Stunning Reversal for Former Veep

Just days after former Vice President Al Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts on global warming, the United States Supreme Court handed Mr. Gore a stunning reversal, stripping him of his Nobel and awarding it to President George W. Bush instead.

For Mr. Gore, who basked in the adulation of the Nobel committee and the world, the high court’s decision to give his prize to President Bush was a cruel twist of fate, to say the least.

But in a 5-4 decision, the justices made it clear that they had taken the unprecedented step of stripping Mr. Gore of his Nobel because President Bush deserved it more.

“It is true that Al Gore has done a lot of talking about global warming,” wrote Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority. “But President Bush has actually helped create global warming.”

Even as Mr. Gore was being stripped of his Nobel, he received strong words of support from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who said that the former vice president’s Nobel win “shows that he is devoting his life to the right thing and should definitely stay the course.”

In an interview with reporters in Iowa, Sen. Clinton said that “Al Gore should remain dedicated to the cause of global climate change, at least through November of 2008.”

Sen. Clinton suggested that Mr. Gore could further research the source of global warming by immediately boarding a rocket ship to the sun.



Friday, October 12, 2007

A Nobel Prize for Vice President Gore.

Hi folks,

I wonder when President Bush will get his Nobel Prize?

In the meantime:
Gore: Award Puts Focus on Global Warming

PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) — For years, former Vice President Al Gore and a host of climate scientists were belittled and, worst of all, ignored for their message about how dire global warming is. On Friday, they were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their warnings about what Gore calls "a planetary emergency."

Gore shared the prize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations network of scientists. This scientific panel has explained the dry details of global warming in thousands of pages of footnoted reports every six years or so since 1990.

I'm waiting for someone to suggest that the Nobel Prizes are rigged. Any bets on how long it takes for FoxNews (sic) to do the expose?


Education equals an economically sound future.

Hi folks,

I had an anonymous contributor send in a comment on this topic in an earlier post (see Assembly budget cuts college for 200 back on July 30, 2007) and thought it required its own thread. Here's his/her message:
Hate to come into this so late, how about reviving this topic? It really needs to become "top of mind".

Just finished "Innovation Nation" by John Kao (don't want to tell anyone what to read, but I would say this is a "must read"). Currently reading "The Elephant and the Dragon" by Robyn Meredith. I am doing it for self-preservation - trying to learn more about the global economy to modify my investing style.

Here are a few things from "Innovation Nation": China's investment in education of it's population is projected to result in China have more English speakers by 2025 than the rest of the world combined. If current trends continue, by 2010 90% of all scientists & engineers in the world could be living in Asia. China & Indian turn out 6.5 million college graduates a year, five times as many as the US. Nearly 1 million are engineers, versus 70,000 US engineering graduates each year. Ever hear of the "Biopolis" initiative in Singapore? - they actually select doctoral candidates (about 500 are in the program) and pay for their graduate education, as well as a tax-free five-year living allowance worth $750,000 in U.S. dollars.

There is a certain momentum effect going on too - remember how social/political changes took off in the late 60's/early 70's? Well, globally we are going to see big changes real fast, and by the time the US catches on to that, it will be too late.

Sorry to go on so long - again, when you have time, I hope you can give this topic some serious discussion.

The numbers I've been given by people who study this sort of thing suggest that, in terms of education, the US is exactly where it was, in terms of manufacturing, in 1982. We were on top of the world with the dawn of India and China only a faint glow on the horizon.

It's 2007.

The sun is up.

MIT used to be the #1 engineering school in the world. Today, it's the second choice for Indian engineering students. The Wisconsin legislature continues to chop away at the UW System budget because they believe, apparently, that education is a bad way to invest our tax dollars. Wisconsin is already 34th in the nation in terms of percentage of workers with bachelor's degrees. At this rate, we'll fall behind Mississippi (we're already behind Texas) in no time.

We might be able to live with that. I'm not sure how comfortable we'll be when we fall behind Singapore, Taiwan, and the economic development zones around Pudong and Wuxi. Right now companies in China still have to bring in management from outside. Pretty soon they'll be producing their own and then -- they won't need us anymore.

We should all remember, with a slight chill, that this is what happened to France.

Maybe our cream sauces and fashion sense will be as good.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Tommy Bartlett's new "Death of the Enlightenment" waterskiing show?

Hi folks,

Here's what happens when you stop funding education.

From : Wisconsin Dells Events
[...] after several years of collecting artifacts and models, Mielke hopes to bring an intelligent design museum to Wisconsin Dells.

"Everybody is getting one side of this," Mielke said. "We're going to show another side to what people believe about dinosaurs."

So, we'll have a museum in the Dells showing that P.T. Barnum was right. There's a sucker born every minute. We'll also have our own a museum, one outside of the South, marking the end of the Enlightenment.

Maybe the FIBs will like it.

Normally, we could chuckle about this except, despite Supreme Court rulings explicitly banning creationism and so called beliefs in "intelligent design" from being taught in high school science classes, people keep trying to get away with it. People keep running stealth candidates and being elected to school boards (most recently in Grantsburg, Wisconsin) which then try to teach religious material as if it's science.

This doesn't do religion any favors. It's tantamount to teaching high school students lies about how science works.

Maybe students would learn to lie to themselves -- which is what it takes to believe creationism is scientific rather than religious -- or that spending money on education is bad for the economy and a waste of our time as a state in the Union.

I wonder if the Chinese are teaching their kids that scientific explanations must always take a back seat to their personal beliefs?

Ah, and for more of which, drop over the John Hawks.

Just wond'ring,

Monday, October 01, 2007

Justice for Justice Ziegler -- Update:

Hi folks,

Not done yet, apparently.

I don't know. She looks happy here, and yet:

From LegalNewsline: New Wisc. Justice can't bury misconduct charges - UPDATE

New Wisc. Justice can't bury misconduct charges - UPDATE

Ziegler and the WJC appeared to resolve outstanding conduct issues against the new Justice when they agreed that she should face only public reprimand over earlier non-recusal charges, LNL reported earlier this month. But those charges did not include the West Bend Bank cases the Judicial Conduct Panel now wants to check.

And in the Wisconsin State Journal:

Panel widens Ziegler conflict of interest probe

A panel investigating conflicts of interest by Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Annette Ziegler signaled Wednesday that it plans to expand the probe by further examining Ziegler's ties to West Bend Savings Bank and her statements prior to this spring's election about those conflicts.

The three-judge panel ordered Ziegler and the Wisconsin Judicial Commission to provide additional information about a reported $2 million in loans Ziegler and her husband received from West Bend Savings Bank, where J.J. Ziegler serves on the board of directors. In their request for additional information, the judges cited media reports detailing potential conflicts of interest beyond those cited by the commission.

And so on.

And so it goes. Does anyone know if any previously sitting Wisconsin Supreme Court justice has ever been investigated for violations they've actually admitted?

Maybe the Wisconsin Supreme Court is the kind of club that would've had Groucho as a member. If the Supreme Court doesn't mind justices who either intentionally flout the ethics rules for justices or, if it was a mistake, make dreadfully casual errors in ethical judgment, then why should we?

If a liar tells you he's a liar, is he a liar? Do you believe him?

Interesting puzzle.

We'll find out after November 19th.

Stay tuned.