Tuesday, December 30, 2008

UW-Washington County offers free 'educational makeover' semester

Hi everyone,

This is the sort of thing I was talking about in the last entry.

UW-Washington County offers free 'educational makeover' semester - JSOnline

UW-Washington County offers free 'educational makeover' semester

For people whose New Year's resolutions include going back to college, the two-year University of Wisconsin-Washington County has a contest that might make it easier, particularly in difficult economic times.

The school's "Extreme Educational Makeover" contest will provide one winner with a free semester of classes, including tuition, fees and money for books - about a $2,600 value.

The contest aims to help adults returning to school. Entrants must be 22 or older, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and cannot have taken a class at UW-Washington County in the past two years. Contestants must submit essays describing why they need a life makeover and how education would help.

The UW-Washington County Foundation, Glacier Hills Credit Union and West Bend Savings Bank provided funding for the scholarship, which the school modeled after a similar contest at UW-Rock County.

School officials also hope the contest will draw applicants who may be unaware of the financial aid available to them. The school plans to contact people who apply but don't win to tell them about these options.

The contest runs Jan. 1 to 31, with a winner announced Feb. 18. Applications are available online at www.washington.uwc.edu. UW-Washington County serves about 1,000 students at its West Bend campus.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Where's the money going?

Hi everyone,

This week's column recounts, essentially, every conversation I've had with Pat Strachota and Glenn Grothman, back when he was still talking to me, for the past 15 years. The state is running a budget deficit and the neocons love to blame "fat in the university" for this, but: 1) I guarantee you we're not seeing any fat here locally, and 2) the yammerers are never able to identify where any of this so-called fat actually is. My best guess: the DOT.

But then, I'm just a country doctor, I don't know nuthin'.

Saturday's column.

Don’t starve the goose. We need the eggs.

The next state budget is coming up and, as always, the remaining neoconservatives in Madison are beginning to eyeball their favorite whipping boy: the University of Wisconsin system. They tore off a lot of flesh in the last budget: even though the UW was only 9 percent of the total budget, it took 38 percent of all the cuts. It was a bloody mess, especially since the UW Colleges are the bottom of the UW System food chain and always take a big hit in any budget cuts – even though we’re demonstrably the best educational deal for the taxpayer. So, I'm always shocked when I hear people complain that there’s fat left in the UW System since here, locally, we aren’t seeing any.

Here’s what I mean: the average faculty member in the UW Colleges earns around $50,000, more than $30k a year behind UWMadison, $15k behind UW-Milwaukee and less than faculty at any other UW campus. How do we compare in cost nationwide? University faculty in Wisconsin, on average, make less (including both salaries and benefits) than do university faculty in Alabama, according to the American Association of University Professors.

Milwaukee Magazine reported another figure that usually surprises people. Instructors at the Wisconsin technical colleges over the last few years earned, on average, about $74,000 a year and at the MATC’s, Milwaukee and Madison area technical colleges, nearly $90,000. So, even relative to the technical colleges, we’re a good deal for the taxpayer who wants to upgrade their education and job opportunities with a BA.

The deal gets better as we go along. UWWC is one of the ways our taxes flow back into Washington County from Madison – in the form of salaries, university spending, and the ripple effects these have on job creation, student spending and attracting a labor pool of college-educated students for local businesses.
In fiscal year 2005-2006, the combined economic impact of university expenditures, payroll and student expenditure results, including direct and economic ripple effects, came to $17.8 million for the county. That’s $17.8 million of our own money we wouldn’t get back without the university.

But wait, there’s more.

The dynamic leadership on campus has made UWWC’s academic and research assets increasingly available to local business through the Washington County Economic Development Corporation. In addition to crunching numbers for local economic planning and development, each year the campus hosts thousands of local residents at events that include everything from workshops on leadership, business training and retirement, to ACT study sessions and exams, to judo competitions and job fairs.

We even save gas. The nursing program with UW-M and the liberal arts degree program with UW-Oshkosh make it possible for Washington County residents to earn their degrees here at home. More recently the new engineering program, run in partnership with UW-Platteville, has been in the news. Not only does the program share costs, saving money while increasing Wisconsin’s stock of engineers, but it’s one of the reasons the Gehl Company cited for moving their R&D center to West Bend. The new construction came in ahead of schedule and under budget. The program begins this spring.

Oh, and one more: UW-Washington County is operating in the black. We pay our own way.

Summing up: the UW System is one of the more cost effective universities in the country, the UW Colleges are the most cost effective branch of UW System and UW-Washington County contributes $17.8 million to the local economy, operates in the black and offers programs local business wants and needs.

That explains why I’m startled whenever I hear that we need to cut the university budget even more. It might well be possible to competitivize some of our health care costs, as John Torinus has done at Serigraph, but I already included benefits in my comparisons above. Relative to most universities nationwide we’re cheaper, we’re better and we cost the taxpayer a lot less.

So, here’s my question: If all that tax money isn’t trickling down to us here at UW Washington County, then where the heck is it going?

I don’t know either, but Rep. Pat Strachota, as demonstrated by her thoughtful and measured column a few weeks ago in these pages, seems dedicated to finding out the answer. I hope she’ll report back to us as the budget process begins.

One difference between Pat and Glenn is that Pat will punch the calculator with her fingers rather than with her ideology.

oh, and a p.s. I'll have to add to next week's column: I do not now, never have, and never will speak as an agent for or on behalf of the University of Wisconsin system or any of its divisions. The truth is I drive our administration as crazy as I possibly can -- from our own local dean up to the Chancellor's office. It's part of my job.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Cure for Christmas affluenza.

Hi everyone,

Yep, getting ready for final exams and a cold clobbered me last week.

This week, I'm thinking about how badly we've screwed up Christmas. :^)

Saturday's column:

Seasonal shopping got you down? Here’s a cure for Christmas affluenza

Got Christmas affluenza? There’s a cure.

If you’ve ventured into the maelstrom of traffic and survived the angry, exhausted shoppers thronging the malls, Christmas shopping begins to look like a psychological disorder. Call it shoppaholism or affluenza.

We’ve watched the contagion spread for years: Christmas presents have replaced Christmas spirit, the true message of the season swallowed by the cocaine of commercialism. The news we hear is not about Peace on Earth but about frantic holiday shoppers who seemed to believe a new TV was more important than the seasonal temp worker they trampled to death. Maybe everyone is infected.

This illness, spread mainly through advertising, has become an annual Christmas epidemic, like the flu. Our entire retail economy now depends on everyone buying stuff for Christmas. How’s that for irony?

Here’s some more: St. Nicolas is the patron saint of merchants.

Does it all make sense now?

And don’t forget, the Christmas holiday began as a marketing tactic. During the first few centuries AD, most Christians celebrated the birth of Christ on Jan. 6, but around 400 AD the date was permanently moved to Dec. 25.

Why? Public relations.

The early church moved Christmas in order to tap the seasonal popularity of a bunch of other Roman festivals. Dec. 25, the winter solstice under the old Julian calendar, was crowded with holidays, most famously, the Saturnalia, held to honor Saturn (aka “Cronus” or Time, a party we now hold on New Year’s Eve – you know, the Old Year carrying a scythe replaced by the diapered, New Year baby during ritual revelry).

Another party held each year paid tribute to a god called Sol Invictus (“the unconquered sun” who returned, after the longest night of the year, bringing Spring with him). And don’t forget the massive members-only bash for followers of Mithras, the Zoroastrian savior deity who ascended into heaven to judge the quick and the dead. Christianity joined this parade and, by 500 AD, took it over.

There’s another, old-fashioned, name for this perennial affluenza, something well documented and diagnosed by scholars for nearly 2,000 years. It’s other name is greed.

Greed turns out to be pretty interesting, especially when you start to think about it, as early Christian scholars did, as a kind of illness.

The earliest Christian scholars put greed in their Top 10 (OK, Top 7) list of capital sins because of a peculiar quality the top seven share.

Their diagnosis? Greed is not bad merely because of the damage it does to others, but primarily because of the damage it does to the person who is greedy. Greed is even worse for the greedy than it is for others.

How does that make any sense? Greed is bad because it encourages us to believe something that harms us personally; it encourages us to believe that money is more important than people or, worse, that owning things is better than the (much) harder work of pursuing a spiritual life. Thomas Aquinas wrote that greed threatened human happiness because in it “man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things.”

Bad idea, that.

Fortunately, there’s a well-established cure for this spiritual, and psychological, illness. The antidote, the preventive vaccine, is charity. Charity, by definition, is the love we develop for others when we realize, deeply and completely, that we’re all in the same boat. Charity cancels out the psychologically and spiritually corrosive effects of greed by reminding us that people are more important than possessions and by inoculating us against the addictive and pernicious belief that simply owning things will make us happy.

So, this year, before you expose yourself to too much of the affluenza virus, get your Christmas flu shot. Give yourself a shot of charity by giving to charity.

You can take the cure, and help your neighbors, right here in West Bend. The “Give at Home” program through the United Way of Washington County funds 35 local programs: from Red Cross services to the military, to the Full Shelf Food Pantry, to the Threshold, to Friends of Abused Families.

Ninety-eight percent of all the money they raise stays here in Washington County. If you’re starting to feel a case of sniffles coming on after an overdose of Christmas shopping, head off your affluenza. Give today to the United Way of Washington County, P.O. Box 304, West Bend, WI 53095.

You’ll feel a lot better – and you’ll be a lot better, too.

All it takes is a little light, a little Yule, and a little mead and mistletoe for fuel.

You can do it.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

West Bend is finally turning ‘Barton blue’

Hi everyone,

Saturday's column.

I see national politics is still simmering on the front burner of our local opinion page. Some of my fellow columnists are busily reconstructing Mr. Obama as a centrist others while others are varnishing Mr. Bush’s otherwise disastrous career with a glossy coat of compassionate conservativism. In stark contrast to these larger-than-local insights, I’ve been thinking about that new paint on the West Bend water tower.

It started like this: driving back from Minneapolis on Saturday we stopped for lunch at the Norske Nook in Osseo. Osseo is a cute little town but, apart from offering weary travelers a rest stop with pie (and those delicious hot sandwiches with gravy your gramma used to make), there is not much to the place – except this: Osseo has a snazzy water tower. It’s the typical mushroom shaped bulb, but it has the words “Osseo Est. 1857” written in the snappiest whiplash-causing two-color font you’ve ever seen. I got excited about being in Osseo solely on the basis of their font selection. “Wow,” I thought. “Osseo!”

Now remember, I’m talking about Osseo, Wisconsin. No matter. The pizzazz in that font made me feel like I’d been somewhere.

OK, so have you noticed the new paint on the main West Bend tower? Does our font selection strike anyone as snazzy? Does it make you think, “Wow, West Bend!”

Me neither.

The font on our utility bills is more inspiring than the font on the city’s water tower.

I felt like we weren’t keeping up with the Joneses. I mean, what does it say about West Bend that Osseo has a cooler water tower than we do – not to mention Eagle and Oconto Falls? (They have smiley faces on theirs. Really. In fact, turns out there are entire Web sites devoted to photos of water towers with smiley faces on them. Surely, another sign that the end times are upon us. The mark of the beast?)

I felt better about this, however, after talking to one of the guys at West Bend’s Public Works Department. He patiently answered my water tower related questions even though this rotten cold I have made it hard to concentrate. (Thanks Jim!)

It is possible that water towers are not an important part of your day but, you know, when you drive by them every day you begin to identify them as landmarks for where you live. You start to take them personally. My water tower, the Barton water tower, is prominently blue and that distinguished us from the rest of West Bend.

After the main tower was re-painted and the shroud was removed to reveal a color selection identical to Barton’s, I thought “Ha, maybe West Bend just wants to be more like Barton.” Not true, alas. All of West Bend‘s water towers are scheduled to be repainted “Barton blue” when their time comes. (Jim didn’t call it that, but that’s what I’m planning to call it from now on.)

I also asked about the boring BLOCK LETTER font selection and mustered all the irritable-citizen-complains-to-publicworks I could. Unfortunately, the explanation made sense.

Are you sitting down?

It cost $435,000 to paint the main water tower this year. Seriously. And nearly half the cost was in the labor required to install and manage the protective shroud. The name in block letters was included in the price, but fancier graphics would’ve cost thousands and thousands of dollars more in labor.

I had some sticker shock thinking about spending half a million dollars every 20 years to paint these tanks but, it turns out, they earn their keep. Have you seen the cell phone antennae stuck all over the city water towers? The city rents that space to the cell phone companies for serious money.

In 2008, (drum roll) $120,555.

So, I’m torn about this. On the one hand it feels like buying a car. You think, “Hey, it’s pretty darned expensive already, so why not get the moon roof and a nicer stereo?” On the other hand, we are talking about spending tax dollars for a font on a water tower. Saving thousands of dollars means a new plow, more salt or sand or maybe a new squad car or fire truck.

Font or fire truck? That is the question.

And yet, I keep thinking about Osseo.

I know I know. With this kind of hard hitting commentary what's next, kittens?

Hmmm. Maybe socialist kittens.


Monday, December 01, 2008

It's official: U.S. in a recession since December 2007 - Dec. 1, 2008

Hi everyone,

Only people who lived in Manhattan didn't know about this.

It's official: U.S. in a recession since December 2007 - Dec. 1, 2008

My only surprise is that they didn't endorse another $100 billion in bailouts for Executive bonuses... but then, my cynicism is getting away from me.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Say bye to Wii and hi to a coffee can -- Saturday's column.

Hi everyone,

Saturday's column:

I’m a little irritable about the commercialization of the winter holidays and thought I’d throw some kerosene on that Yule log.

When you visit friends and relatives are you stunned by the sight of children, absorbed in their video games, eyes fixed in a 1,000-yard stare, distracted by the flickering screen from their participation in the festivities: from the tree, from conversations with second cousins they won’t see again for a year, from aunts, uncles, and grandparents – and even from eating dinner?

Yeah, me too. I think we’re teaching them to prefer virtual reality to real reality.

Back in the Internet’s pre-commercial days, Cliff Stoll was a celebrity. He was the guy who, in 1986, caught an East German KGBsponsored hacker breaking into the U.S. military network. During the ’90s he wrote a great little book (Silicon Snake Oil) about the way computers were being injected, like artificial Twinkie filling or hepatitis, into the lives of children. Every year, he prophesied, computers would replace sand boxes and construction paper in the lives of kindergartners. Stoll was particularly worried about some unnoticed moral lessons kids assimilate from exposure to video games. Here is the gist of it.

Think about what children learn from video games versus what you learned playing kick the can.

Let’s start with video games.

In video games, the rules must be strictly obeyed and can never be appealed or changed. In the face of absolute rules the only way to get what you want, in the mind of a 6-year-old if not an Enron executive, is to go around them. In other words, you learn to cheat. Prolonged exposure to video games thus trains a child to believe that rules must be followed blindly, a character trait better suited to fascist regimes than America, and that cheating is an appropriate way to win. Cheating is not a habit we want to inculcate in kids. It’s economically harmful. Even Milton Friedman said that cheating subverts a free market.

Kick the can, by contrast, embodies all the best American values. You may not have noticed at the time, but kick the can taught you how to play with others and negotiate your own rules. (When I was a kid we played with a bunch from the next block who used a different set of rules. They insisted, for example, on leaning the can up against a tree instead of setting it out in the middle of a lawn. Disputes about can placement always dominated the opening rounds of our kickthe-can marathons. Sometimes we couldn’t reach an agreement on the rules and, therefore, never even got around to playing. Another valuable lesson about the real world.)

Moreover, negotiation was followed by a second, greater, lesson: you learned to keep your word. If you accidentally stepped out of bounds, say, you learned you had to abide by the rules you’d agreed to, or get thrown out of the game. You also learned that if you were honest, people would believe you and let you keep playing. You learned to be responsible. Prolonged exposure to kick the can teaches kids how to forge contracts and the importance of keeping their word. They learn that cheating screws up the fun of playing.

Let’s recap:

Video games: You learn to play alone.
Kick the can: You learn to play with others.
Video games: You learn to obey rules.
Kick the can: You learn to create rules and to take responsibility for following the rules you create.
Video games: You learn to cheat.
Kick the can: You learn to negotiate.
Video games: You can start over whenever you want.
Kick the can: You can’t start over whenever you want.
Video games: No need to consider others.
Kick the can: You learn that, in the real world, you have to get along with other people, whether they like you or not. You learn the majority sets the rules, even when they're wrong, and you learn how to cope with situations where you don’t get your own way.

So, this Thanksgiving weekend, as you roll out to join the swelling river of minivans flooding the Yule-soaked shopping mall parking lots, remember: video games teach blind obedience to authority and kick the can teaches democracy.

Resist the impulse to buy flashy new electronic reality-substitutes. Show your children and grandchildren you love them. This year give them an old coffee can, and the real world, instead. Then take ‘em outside and teach them how to play.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

After the thrill of the election, back to sewer zoning.

Hi everyone,

[My editor wrote the headline! "From the Whitehouse back to the outhouse."]

Saturday's column.

The gripping national drama of this year’s election is finally beginning to loosen its hold on us and our political attention can finally shift from the faraway spectacle of Washington, D.C., to the local, and more immediate, concerns of Washington County.

The election was a thrill ride, wonderful for some and frightening for others. Mr. Obama’s promise of participatory democracy is, apparently, even more frightening to neoconservatives than Mr. Reagan’s voodoo-economics-driven plutocratic-Christian-fundamentalist-fascism was to those of us on the progressive side of the aisle.

But now, after all that tumult and excitement, after the grand sweep of Grand Ideals, we have to get back to figuring whether we want bike trails, who to assign to West Bend’s Parking Advisory Committee and, of course, sewers.

I have a funny story about sewers. Eleven years ago this autumn I was sitting in the visitors gallery overlooking the Estonian Riigikogu, their parliament. Below us the members were engaged in a fierce debate.

Beside us our hostess, the minister of the environment, was giving us goose-bumps by recounting the story of how, on Aug. 20, 1991, as a column of Soviet tanks drew down on Tallinn, the Estonian parliament defiantly passed a final resolution declaring full Estonian independence. Volunteers set up perimeters to defend key government buildings from the Soviet Interior Ministry’s OMON shock troops.

There was, surprisingly, no bloodshed. Even when the Soviet troops finally pulled out of Estonia everyone assumed, we were told, that the Russians were merely leaving to see who would emerge as leaders afterward. Once those people were known, everyone assumed, the Russians would return and slaughter them. Those who lived in the Baltics following World War II understood the Soviets perfectly well.

There didn’t seem to be any point in delaying the inevitable, she told us. People poured down to the border crossings to block the returning Russian tanks with their bodies. They waited. The Soviets did not return. Eventually everyone decided they might as well head back to Tallinn and start work on the new government. That’s what they did.

The members of parliament on the floor below us had been among those Estonians who, jaws set and singing patriotic songs, waited for Russian tanks that never came.

The voices from the floor below grew louder. What were those courageous people, now transformed into representatives of a parliamentary democracy, discussing with so much fire?

Our hostess leaned over the railing to listen and, eyes widening, finally said, Ah yes. A very important debate is taking place. The members are discussing the best way to extend a new sewer line.

This was, admittedly, something of a letdown, but it was also a brilliant lesson in the aphorism that all politics is local.

Here in Washington County we haven’t even had to worry about Soviet shock troops, but there is a lot to do.

The West Bend Common Council still has to think about the northwest interceptor sewer line in one form or another. The main water tower was just repainted blue. There have been sanitary sewer repairs along Salisbury Road and Barton Avenue and city council has considered whether to allow a new tattoo parlor shop to set up on Barton Avenue and whether to initiate some rezoning for (another ?) new Walgreen's at Paradise Drive and South Main Street. They’re preparing the 2009 Water Utility budget.

(Sitting in the visitors gallery in Tallinn, I remembered something my grandfather the pastor liked to say: You can climb the mountain to behold the glory of God, but always remember, the fruit grows in the valley.)

I thought about what it must have been like for human beings who had risked their lives on the mountain tops of patriotic dedication – and the lives of their families – to suddenly find themselves arguing about sewer lines, or to realize that their greatest contribution to the future of their country might well be a set of smart zoning regulations. I thought about this again last week while recovering from the adrenalin rush of three months campaigning against the neoconservative culture warriors.

I realized that, if on a less dramatic scale, we too should take a deep breath and get back to the urgent needs of local government because, grand political events notwithstanding, we live in the valley.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

This just in: The Bogeyman doesn’t exist ... Saturday's column.

Hi everyone,

Saturday's column.

[I'll be posting these online now that I finally (!) figured out proper citation. For those of you without a West Bend Daily News subscription, you won't be able to access the electronic version... but then, you don't need to if you read it here.]

I remember hiding under the covers, worried about the bogeyman under my bed. My mom would come in and turn on the lights. I’d push back the covers, lean over the edge and, terrified, peek underneath. Nothing but dust bunnies. Whew.

There was enough loose talk about Karl Marx and socialism over the last few weeks, two of America’s biggest bogeymen, to make me put on my mean-old-professor glasses and work up a little pop quiz to test our political understanding. See how you do.

Identify the source of the following:

“Owners sell off their land and houses and bring the proceeds to their leaders who then redistribute the wealth to each according to their need.”

Does this idea first appear in

a) Karl Marx’s “Critique of the Gotha Program,”
b) Vladimir Lenin’s pamphlet, “What Is To Be Done,” or
c) the Bible?

Did everyone get the Bible?

It’s a paraphrase from Acts 4:34-35. A little earlier, in Acts 2:44-45, we even find “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.”

Scary stuff, but that’s where Marx got it.

Does it strike anyone as ironic that this quotation – Western culture’s most compelling description of a community that cares about its members – was misconstrued over the last few weeks to suggest that the President-elect poses a “socialist” threat to America’s future?

So, let me be blunt: this fear-laden notion of socialism is a bogeyman. It keeps us scared and hiding under the blankets. Let’s turn on the lights and check out the dust bunnies.

For starters, if by “socialism” we mean a totalitarian state that controls every aspect of human life… well, you’d have to explain where that shows up in the President-elect’s agenda. No, another look under the bed confirms it’s all dust bunnies. Even the famous examples of oppressive totalitarianism – Nazi Germany, the USSR, and China under Mao – have all been vacuumed up by history. The lights came on and they turned to dust. Besides, think of all the fully functional, and fully free, “socialist” countries like Sweden, Norway or even France. Denmark hardly looks like Orwell’s “1984” and they’re currently the happiest people on the planet.

On the other hand if, by “socialism,” we mean “a government that does stuff for its citizens,” then nearly every heartbeat of America’s political and economic life runs on a “socialist” infrastructure. The interstate highway system, our sewer and water facilities, the electric grid, Social Security, Medicare, the Internet, our fire and police departments, and the armed services are all, technically, “socialist” programs. So was the public health service in Milwaukee during the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918-1919 – a public health service that kept Milwaukee at the bottom of the mortality rate nation wide.

Anyone want to privatize the fire department or the interstates?

In fact, over the past few decades no segment of the economy has benefited more from socialistic government spending than the largest corporations – and, let’s not forget, their Boards of Directors. Liberals haven’t been able to afford regular lattes for years. Wall Street CEOs? That’s a different matter entirely. Our schools may be underfunded, but President Bush’s corporate welfare queens are crowding into the Treasury Department’s waiting room this week, palms outstretched for government-issue golden parachutes. They whine that these bailouts will help “the employees,” but our tax dollars, apparently, will also help “the executives” pay for hunting trips to shoot French Red-legged partridges in rural England, as AIG officials did last month.

Turn on the lights and you can see what's happening under the bed: socialism for the rich and capitalism for everybody else.

Let’s get back to why the “socialism” bogeyman appeared so much over the last few weeks in the local paper. Washington County is one of the places in Wisconsin where bogeymen are still being kept alive. Here they’re fed by local radio talk-show hosts and state representatives who depend on sloganeering, promulgating irrational fear, and wedge-issue politics to keep their jobs.

But the lights are on now. It’s only a matter of time until everyone’s had a good look under the bed.

You go first.

I dare you.


Does Charlie Syckes's job depend on a nation of victims?

Hi everyone,

As we guessed, yeah, it does

Milwaukee Magazine : Feature Story : Secrets of Talk Radio


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Obama is the Anti-Christ? Toto, are we still in West Bend?

Hi everyone,

Who knew that the effects of fluoridation would finally appear on 2nd Avenue in West Bend, Wisconsin?

Here's the evidence:

Okay, maybe it's not flouridation. Maybe it's something worse.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Greenspan Concedes Error on Regulation

Hi everyone,

The cold water wakes up even libertarians, eventually.

Greenspan Concedes Error on Regulation - NYTimes.com

But on Thursday, almost three years after stepping down as chairman of the Federal Reserve, a humbled Mr. Greenspan admitted that he had put too much faith in the self-correcting power of free markets and had failed to anticipate the self-destructive power of wanton mortgage lending.

And so on.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

McCain and the POW Cover-up

Hi everyone,

I'd almost forgotten about the degree to which McCain wanted information on remaining and unreleased Vietnam era POWs stifled. Repressing the truth often creates monsters.

From The Nation Institute
[an excerpt]

By Sydney H. Schanberg
September 18, 2008

John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn't return home. Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents. Thus the war hero who people would logically imagine as a determined crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books.

The straight talk express?


Monday, October 13, 2008

What the McCain campaign is telling canvassers in a state they might lose.

Hi everyone,

Some choice, and unashamed, fear mongering by the McCain staffs in Virginia.

From: In Battleground Virginia, a Tale of Two Ground Games - TIME

an excerpt:
The McCain campaign invited me to visit Frederick and the Gainesville operation on Saturday morning, to get a first-hand glimpse of its ground game in Prince William County, Virginia, a fast-growing area about 30 miles from Washington, D.C.

With so much at stake, and time running short, Frederick did not feel he had the luxury of subtlety. He climbed atop a folding chair to give 30 campaign volunteers who were about to go canvassing door to door their talking points — for instance, the connection between Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden: "Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon," he said. "That is scary." It is also not exactly true — though that distorted reference to Obama's controversial association with William Ayers, a former 60s radical, was enough to get the volunteers stoked. "And he won't salute the flag," one woman added, repeating another myth about Obama. She was quickly topped by a man who called out, "We don't even know where Senator Obama was really born." Actually, we do; it's Hawaii.

Have a look.


The Man Behind the Whispers About Obama

Hi everyone,

So, this is the guy behind some of those emails you -- and my mom -- keep getting.

The Man Behind the Whispers About Obama - NYTimes.com

It's always some guy, somewhere.

And, as I noted in last weekends column for the Daily News, Karl Rove didn't make this one up.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Is Sarah Palin faking her accent? Ya, You betcha.

I knew it was too good to be true and, to my ear, she sounded waaay too Minnesoooota (my home state) to my ear.

Here's the account:
Palin faking her accent? You betcha - War Room - Salon.com

And the data. See/hear what you think:


Saturday, October 04, 2008

Palin caught in another spectacular crash.

No one vetted Palin before JMcC picked her. Apparently no one vetted her canned debate commentary either.

In a nutshell, the quote from Reagan she used at the end of the debate is from a little propaganda movie Ronnie did back in the 1960's hoping to snuff out Medicare before it could be created in law.

Here's the poster from Operation Coffee Cup:
The full details are here:

Raising the white flag of surrender to Medicare - Paul Krugman - Op-Ed Columnist - New York Times Blog


Monday, September 29, 2008

Rep Marcy Kapture from Ohio should move to the Wisconsin 5th congressional district.

Hi everyone,

Holy smokes, there are good representatives in the House?


Why are we always bailing out the rich?

Hi everyone,

Looks like the bail out is going to work out great for those who have. When I screw up my finances, I'm the one who has hell to pay. When Wall Street Bankers screw up my finances, the government they own gives them even more of my money.

They're looting the treasury while they can.

The corporate shills on the neocon right want us to believe that this "Collapse" is caused by regular working people who took mortgages they couldn't afford -- as always, they blame the working poor instead of themselves. The number one reason for people declaring bankruptcy in this country, however, is their inability to pay medical bills.

Nice, eh?

I'm irritable that my tax dollars are going to help pay the plastic surgery bills for Wall Street brokers and bankers. How about you?


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pastor claims God endorses McCain. IRS to investigate.

Hi everyone,

Right right right they go.

Wis. pastor shares his plan to vote for McCain -- chicagotribune.com
Emrich told his congregation at New Life Church on Sunday that he supports McCain's anti-abortion platform. The 38-year-old pastor claims he's not endorsing either candidate but he did note that he has a sign on his lawn supporting McCain.
So, let's see if I have this right: a 38 year old prophet in West Bend has worked out that God wants a Republican in the White House because the Republicans support a spun version of an Old Testament's commandment even though they ignore the updated version ("love your neighbor as yourself") by denying any support for children once they're born?

I wonder if they've also rewritten that whole section about Jesus throwing the money lenders out of the Temple? I suspect the neo-con Bibles must have a version where Christ invites them into the Temple, caters lunch, and then bails them out when they make bad loans.

If it keeps going like this, I won't be able to muster a lick of irony.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Palin/Couric reprise....

From my friend Pat, who was kind enough to add a comment to the original Palin/Couric interview below.... this version is actually more accurate.


Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain's Website identifies equal pay for women with Cindy's vacation pictures.

Hi everyone,

No, I just couldn't come up with a more clever headline.

Have you seen John McCain's official page for Republican Women?

Um... it's Cindy's vacation pics. No, really. Have a look.

In Sen McCain's experience "women" means a powerful mother and a disabled first wife dumped to marry the hot 24 year old millionaire.

At least The Daily Show will have another month of jokes that write themselves.


Another look at Sarah Palin's understanding of economics.

Hi everyone,

Apparently the Republicans thought that taking McCain out of the public eye would help them. Now they'll have to remove Sarah too.

I can't even think of what to add to the following:

Heaven help us. Get out and vote.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The corporate financiers are wrong

Hi everyone,

Anyone else reeling under the genius of our free-market financiers? Yeah, we are too.

At root, the problem is that people believe economics is a science like physics rather than a science like tarot card reading.

Here's one observation:

The corporate financiers are wrong | from Salon


Friday, September 19, 2008


Hi everyone,

Yes yes... Sarah is carefully guarded by double-speak... just like Dan Quayle was.

If you're a conservative and you're selected for a job over more qualified candidates you're a 'game changer.'

Black teen pregnancies? A 'crisis' in Black America.

White teen pregnancies? A 'blessed event.'

If you grow up in Hawaii you're 'exotic.'

Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, you're the quintessential 'American story.'

Similarly, if you name your kid Barack you're 'unpatriotic.'

Name your kid Track, you're 'colorful.'

If you're a Democrat and you make a VP pick without fully vetting the individual, you're 'reckless.'

A Republican who doesn't fully vet is a 'maverick.'

If you spend 3 years as a community organizer growing your organization from a staff of 1 to 13 and your budget from $70,000 to $400,000, then become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new African American voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, then spend nearly 8 more years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, becoming chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, then spend nearly 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of nearly 13 million people, sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you are woefully inexperienced.

If you spend 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, then spend 20 months as the governor of a state with 650,000 people, you've got the most executive experience of anyone on either ticket, are the Commander in Chief of the Alaska military and are well qualified
to lead the nation should you be called upon to do so because your state is the closest state to Russia.

If you are a Democratic male candidate who is popular with millions of people, you are an 'arrogant celebrity.'

If you are a popular Republican female candidate, you are 'energizing the base.'

If you are a younger male candidate who thinks for himself and makes his own decisions you are 'presumptuous.'

If you are an older male candidate who makes last minute decisions you refuse to explain, you are a 'shoot from the hip' maverick.

If you are a candidate with a Harvard law degree you are 'an elitist' 'out of touch' with the real America.

If you are a legacy (dad and granddad were admirals) graduate of Annapolis, with multiple disciplinary infractions, you are a hero.

If you manage a multi-million dollar nationwide campaign, you are an 'empty suit.'

If you are a part-time mayor of a town of 7000 people, you are an 'experienced executive.'

If you go to a south-side Chicago church, your beliefs are 'extremist.'

If you believe in creationism and don't believe global warming is man-made, you are 'strongly principled.'

If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years with whom
you are raising 2 beautiful daughters you're 'risky.'

If you're a black single mother of 4 who waits for 22 hours after her water breaks to seek medical attention, you're an irresponsible parent, endangering the life of your unborn child.

But if you're a white married mother who waits 22 hours, you're spunky.

If you're a 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton, the right-wing press calls you 'First dog.'

If you're a 17-year old pregnant unwed daughter of a Republican, the right-wing press calls you 'beautiful' and 'courageous.'

If you kill an endangered species, you're an excellent hunter.

If you have an abortion you're not a Christian-- you're a murderer (forget about if it happened while being date raped).

If you teach abstinence only in sex education, you get teen parents.

If you teach responsible age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

You get the idea. Take it from here.

Tiddly pom.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Conservatives for Obama

It's nice to see the beginning of the truth come out. The biggest problem, as I've been repeating for some years now, is not that neo-conservatives are conservative, but that they are not conservatives.

From Wick Allison: A Conservative for Obama

At least if they were real conservatives we'd be able to argue about meaningful differences. As it is, we're left with trying to convince the neo-cons that there isn't a bogeyman under the bed.

I know that doesn't make any sense. It's late.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"The Palin Doctrine" even crazier than the Bush Doctrine she didn't understand.

And better...

... or worse, I suppose. Have a look at the Christian Science Monitor.

The Palin Doctrine
Sarah Palin may be excused for not knowing "the Bush doctrine." The term was thrown at her like a curve ball during an interview last week by ABC's Charles Gibson, whose own description was incomplete. But her assertion of a potential new "doctrine" – one she might bring to the White House – is far less pardonable.

She said during that interview that the United States "must do whatever it takes" to fight terrorism. This implies the same amoral existentialism that terrorists use. It goes against the very principles of Western civilization that the jihadists seek to destroy.

Maybe it's the doo is on too tight. Maybe it's her glasses. Maybe it's the use of moose slaughter as a primary metaphor for politics and diplomacy.


We earn money the old fashioned way, we get government bailouts.

Hi everyone,

It just gets better and better.

McCain’s Son In New Keating Five Scandal?

John McCain’s son, Andrew McCain, was the former director of a bank that was closed by the federal government yesterday, according to reports.

The FDIC closed the Silver State Bank of Nevada on Friday afternoon and is trying to arrange a takeover by Nevada State Bank of Las Vegas in time for Monday.

Who else remembers George W's brother Neal and the Silverado Savings and Loan bail out back in the 80's? Only me? Hm... well, this family has had a LOT of practice getting the government to subsidized its lifestyle and losses.


Monday, September 15, 2008

More neocon shock-talk porn exposed....

Hi everyone,

If you missed this bit on the porn addiction being peddled by the neocon right, well, time to wake up.


This is where we're headed unless....


Palin quoting famous fascist in her acceptance speech.

Hi everyone,

Oh yeah, better and better.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Governor Palin's Reading List

Fascist writer Westbrook Pegler, an avowed racist who Sarah Palin approvingly quoted in her acceptance speech for the moral superiority of small town values, expressed his fervent hope about my father, Robert F. Kennedy, as he contemplated his own run for the presidency in 1965, that "some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow flies."

It might be worth asking Governor Palin for a tally of the other favorites from her reading list.

I'm only surprised that Ann Coulter isn't writing her speeches.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

From Olivia Wilkinson's Blog: lets get it straight!

Hi everyone,

Too good not to share.

From: Barack Obama and Joe Biden: The Change We Need | Olivia Wilkinson's Blog: lets get it straight!
I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight.....

* If you grow up in Hawaii , raised by your grandparents, you're 'exotic, different.'

* Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, a quintessential American story.

* If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

* Name your kids Willow , Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

* Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.

* Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

* If you spend 3 years as a community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

* If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

* If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant , you're very responsible.

* If your wife is a Harvard graduate laywer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America 's

* If you're husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.

Well, it's clearer to me.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lipstick on a Wing Nut

Hey folks,

Lipstick on a Wing Nut

I'm a bit weirded out, and exhausted, by being called an "elitist" by people earning 100 times as much a year as I do and who have the levers of political power in their hands. How could I be considered elite when I have no power and sit comfortably near the median household income?

Yeah, I dunno either. We're living in a Twilight Zone episode.


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sarah Palin, the Gender Card, and The Daily Show

Hi everyone,

Oh this just keeps getting better.

Sarah Palin Gender Card | The Daily Show | Comedy Central

What bothers me, however, is not that Karl Rove, and McCain's senior policy advisor, and even Sarah Palin herself have been caught in the kind of cynical hypocrisy that raises the bar, even by Bush Administration standards -- no.

What really bothers me is that we have to hear this from The Daily Show (which I love -- as do all right thinking Americans) instead of from the REAL NEWS. Have our broadcast journalists simply let go of the reins, tossed their typewriters into the Potomac, and holed up in the opium den of the Beltway party circuit?

Yeah, I don't know either. I have no idea where they've been since Cronkite retired.

And so it goes.


Thursday, September 04, 2008

Even the Republican Elite agree: Palin choice is BS.

Hi everyone,

In case you hadn't seen it:

Peggy Noonan, Mike Murphy Caught On Tape Disparaging Palin Choice: "Political Bullshit," "Gimmicky"

I have always deeply admired Peggy Noonan (who wrote speeches for Reagan) for her insight into the voting public so it was reassuring to hear her echo what seems like common sense.

Prediction: when The Big Lie comes under attack -- even from your own party -- you have to lie even BIGGER, so... this week, watch The Lie get bigger yet.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

West Bend voters are not backwards cheapskates.

Are we?

I don't think we are -- but we'll have to see how this vote goes. We've been penny-wise and pound-foolish before -- and it's already cost us money by putting off maintenance and required repairs for later when it'll cost more.

Americans have been avoiding their civic responsibilities for the past 30 years under cover of "free market economics" -- which cashes out as an irrational belief that no harm can come to West Bend so long as people would rather spend $300 a year on new iPods for themselves, say, than on new schools for their kids.

It'd be nice to be wrong. We'll see.

JS Online: West Bend voters will decide on school building plans


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Why aren't conservatives fiscal conservatives anymore?

One of the great ironies of the last 30 years: neocons pummel 'liberals' -- relentlessly and successfully in elections -- using the Big Fear of Tax-and-Spend Democrats and yet...

and yet...


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Your First Look At McCain-Palin’s America

Hi everyone,

Here's what the Republican future looks like.

From: Wonkette: The D.C. Gossip » Blog Archive » Your First Look At McCain-Palin’s America

I know, it's a joke, but THINK ABOUT IT for a minute or two and see if it doesn't match up in eerie ways.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

McCain Doesn’t Know How Many Houses He Owns? Answer: Seven

Although I suppose Presidents don't need to keep track of stuff like this and, as voters, it's really none of our business. We should be good citizens and simply obey the wishes of our leaders, after all, disagreeing with our leaders -- in our New American -- is treason.

From Daniel Cody's “Left on the Lake”:

McCain Doesn’t Know How Many Houses He Owns? Answer: Seven:

For more of this, of course, always see talkingpointsmemo.com where, right now, they total up why it's so hard to get a fix on the actual number of houses.

This little cottage, for instance [you can click on the image for a bigger version]:

I'm trying to work out whether I'm surprised or...

- oh, wait. Never mind. I'm not.

And just because it's available:


Poll shows Obama leads McCain on education

Hi everyone,

JS Online: Poll shows Obama leads McCain on education issues:

"State Rep. Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) pointed to the poll’s finding of growing support for allowing students to attend private schools at the public expense. The share of respondents who favored this idea increased to 44% in 2008 from 39% the year before."
Personally, I'm still trying to work out why tax payers would find it acceptable to spend public tax dollars to subsidize what amounts to, in most cases, a private religious-based education. Rep Vukmir is, to my knowledge, a religiously conservative Christian who probably even condones teaching Intelligent Design as science, so why would she find it acceptable for her tax dollars to be spent subsidizing the religious education of Muslims, say, or even ELCA Lutherans? The ELCA Lutherans can be socially radical in ways inimical to Rep. Vukmir's ideological footprint and, truth be told, infinitely more subversive than the hammer of radical Islam.

My guess would be because it allows her own religious convictions to be subsidized by the rest of us. That seems to be enough for most people who echo this opinion.

Anyone have a better explanation?


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Debunking two anti-Obama e-mails

Hi everyone,

A nice breakdown of the clever way to scare people. As always, Big Lies seem to work better than small lies. From Salon:
Debunking two anti-Obama e-mails | Salon News


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

John McCain's Cross to Bear. More from Reason.

Hi everyone,

An interesting follow-up to McCain's touching, supposedly true, story about a secretly Christian guard at the Hanoi Hilton. One of McCain's poodles blogged up a nice, smarmy, response, but it's hard to argue with the clear gaps in your own boss's accounts.

John McCain's Cross to Bear - Reason Magazine

Tiddly pom.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

McCain's "Cross in the Dirt" story stolen from Solzhenitsyn (updated X3)

Hi everyone,

If Mr. McCain didn't lie, or have this wonderful story written for him, it would be quite touching. Maybe his prison guard in Hanoi had also read Solzhenitsyn, but mainly I'm reminded of Ronald Reagan's story about flying over the English Channel on the way to bomb Germany... and that he'd borrowed it from one of his own movies.

At least McCain steals from the best.

Daily Kos: "Cross in the Dirt" story stolen from Solzhenitsyn (updated X3)

For a more complete report, with links to McCain's version of Solzhenitsyn's gulag experience see McCain lies, contradicts himself on Cross story. With evidence.

And so it goes.


Polkamania and Germanfest next weekend in West Bend.

Hi everyone,

Ja der, c'mon up to see us.

Downtown West Bend Association


Reagan Republicans Endorsing Obama

Hi everyone,

You know something is going on when well placed Republicans from previous administrations begin to bail out on their Party's candidate. Douglas W. Kmiec threw his support to Obama back in March of this year.

Professor Kmiec, now a Professor of Constitutional Law at Pepperdine University, was head of the Office of Legal Counsel (U.S. Assistant Attorney General) for both President Reagan and President George H.W. Bush. Here's his endorsement.

Endorsing Obama

Most thoughtful Republicans and traditional conservatives have good reasons to support Senator Obama as a better choice now that the neo-conservatives seem to be carrying Senator McCain away in a flood tide.

I've seen a lot of Republicans and traditional conservatives coming out in support of Obama, but nary a Democrat who could stomach McCain. That alone is pretty interesting.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

When the truth won't work, try swiftboating.

Hi everyone,

Just to get it out of my system, the latest from the Rapid Response team keeping an eye on McCain's loony fringe hit-squads.

I'm including the entire thing here since, it turns out about 12% of our fellow citizens actually believe those email chain letters that get past their spam filters lying about Senator Obama. I'm especially tickled by the ones that claim the Senator is a Muslim and then, in the same page, go off on his Church in Chicago.... but it also worries me that so many people believe this stuff. Apparently a significant number of our fellow Americans still believe Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11.

Anyway, here's Howard:

A note from Howard Dean:

In 2004, the media let right-wing crackpots like Jerome Corsi spread lies about John Kerry. Now Corsi is publishing another hit piece attacking Barack Obama.

This year I'm drawing the line -- we're not going to let Corsi and the Republicans get away with it again.

Scroll down to check out Corsi's track record of ideologically driven lies and conspiracy theories [...]

I hope you'll forward this email to everyone you know, too.


Howard Dean

----- Original Message -----
From: DNC Rapid Response Team
Subject: A book of lies -- your action urgently needed

Friend --

One of the most vile smear peddlers of the 2004 election has found a new target.

Jerome Corsi just published a new book full of rehashed distortions and the same old lies about Barack Obama, and the right-wing noise machine is in full gear promoting it.

In 2004, Corsi helped launch the Swift Boat smear campaign with a book of distortions and lies he wrote about John Kerry. Corsi was so extreme in his misrepresentations that even other Swift Boat attackers tried to distance themselves from him.

We cannot afford to let Corsi get away with the same dirty tricks that fooled so many people in 2004. We can't rely on the media to hold him accountable -- in fact, the sheer brazenness of the lies is attracting even more coverage. The media have shown that they aren't going to stop him.

It's up to you to spread the truth, so here it is. Below you will find the facts about Corsi and his desperate fabrications.

Read the latest research for yourself (it's almost unbelievable) and get this information to everyone you know who is following this election.


Together we'll show Corsi, the Republicans, and John McCain that Barack Obama and the Democrats don't back down from a fight.


DNC Rapid Response Team

The latest research on Jerome Corsi:


Corsi Was Dropped From Unfit for Command Promotions Because of His Anti-Muslim, Anti-Catholic Comments. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote in an editorial, "Consider the book "Unfit for Command," put out by a collection of partisans who have now made it acceptable for veterans to attack each other's war records. The current National Review carries a piece decrying the bookstores that fail to carry "John O'Neill's book." This is curious in that the volume has a second author, but Jerome Corsi has dropped from the marketing because he has been revealed as the author of religiously bigoted remarks published on a Web site. Corsi not only considers Muslims to be pederasts, but he took the trouble to slam Catholic priests and refers to the pope as senile. Rather than wonder whether a book written by such a man can be trusted, the marketing tactic has shifted to pretend Corsi doesn't exist." [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania), 9/19/04]

O'Neill Tried to Minimize Corsi's Role in Unfit for Command After Bigoted Comments Came to Light. "In a bit of historical revisionism, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth founder and Unfit for Command co-author John O'Neill distorted Jerome Corsi's role in co-authoring the book. O'Neill's backtracking comes on the heels of Media Matters for America's documentation of Corsi's history of posting bigoted comments. During appearances on MSNBC's Scarborough Country on August 10 and CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports on August 11, O'Neill downplayed Corsi's role in writing the book. When asked about Corsi's involvement, O'Neill asserted, Corsi was "simply an editor and not really any sort of co-author." But an MMFA item entitled "Unfit book materials show Corsi more than just an 'editor,'" revealed Corsi to be much more than simply an editor of the anti- Kerry book. [Media Matters Press Release, 8/13/04]

"Anti-Kerry Book Author Apologizes for Slurs." "One of the authors of a new anti-John Kerry book frequently posted comments on a conservative Web site describing Muslims and Catholics as pedophiles and Pope John Paul II as senile. In chat room entry last year on freerepublic.com, Corsi writes: 'Islam is a peaceful religion - just as long as the women are beaten, the boys buggered and the infidels are killed.' In another entry, he says: 'So this is what the last days of the Catholic Church are going to look like. Buggering boys undermines the moral base and the lawyers rip the gold off the Vatican altars. We may get one more Pope, when this senile one dies, but that's probably about it'." [AP, 8/10/04]


Corsi Wrote a Book Saying Bush's "Globalist Agenda" Is Leading to a North American Union. "The real reason behind President Bush's push for immigration reform, says author Jerome R. Corsi, is to unite the United States, Mexico and Canada by erasing borders and creating a "North American Union." That is the theme of Mr. Corsi's new book, "The Late Great USA: The Coming Merger with Mexico and Canada," which says the Bush administration's 'globalist agenda' is leading to a merger of the countries through the implementation of policies and laws to open trade barriers and renovate the highway systems in anticipation of increased travel within the new megastate. Mr. Corsi said a growing number of Americans think the North American Union is being forced onto Americans. Government officials say the idea is no more than an unjustified conspiracy theory spread through the Internet. Mr. Corsi said the impetus of the plan was the creation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, announced by leaders of the United States, Mexico and Canada at Waco, Texas, in 2005." [Washington Times, 7/18/07]

Conservative Human Events Writer: Corsi Isn't "Any More Worthy Of Being Taken Seriously Than Those Who Think Jews Rule The World Or The 'Truthers' Who Think President Bush Is Responsible For 9/11." Under the headline "There Isn't Going to Be a North American Union," John Hawkins wrote, "Yesterday, Jerome Corsi was prattling on about the North American Union again after Michael Medved deservedly spanked him for spreading conspiracy theories. While I don't think Corsi is any more worthy of being taken seriously than those who think Jews rule the world or the 'Truthers' who think President Bush is responsible for 9/11, I thought I would respond to him one last time. (I think that's about the fourth time I've said that.) Now, why respond again? What's the point? Well unfortunately, a lot of conservatives consider this conspiracy theory to be so preposterous that they believe it's beneath them to even bother discussing it, and that leaves Corsi and his ilk to dominate the debate. And since there are a lot of conservatives being taken in by this North American Union nonsense, somebody has got to step up to the plate." [Human Events Online, 1/10/07]

Editor of Human Events: "I Guess There Are People Who Believe In" Corsi's North American Union Conspiracy, "But There Are People Who Believe In Bigfoot." "Corsi plays on growing nationalist fears. He sees a scenario in which a North American Union is born and shares a currency, the "amero." Even some right-wing standard-bearers regard the fears as over-blown. Jed Babbin, editor of the conservative newspaper Human Events, says: "I guess there are people who believe in [the plan for a North American Union]. But there are people who believe in Bigfoot." [Newsweek, 12/10/07]

Corsi Wrote a Book Disagreeing With Most Scientists That There is a Limit to Oil. "All his life, Jerome Corsi's been told that we're running out of oil. "I remember driving with my dad in a 1952 Plymouth and listening to him talk about the end of oil," says the 59-year-old New Jersey author. "Hasn't happened yet, and it's not going to happen." What makes him so sure? He doesn't buy the fossil fuel theory--that oil comes from dead plants and dinosaurs. He believes it comes out of the ground naturally, and that there's more coming up all the time...Eighteenth century Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov found biological debris in oil and concluded that it must have biological origin. "I'm at the point where the dinosaur theory seems silly," says Corsi. "You take a pile of cats and you bury them, dig them up 10 years later and you don't get oil." "The truth is that there is so much oil around the world that it's been easy to find," Corsi says. "We're awash in oil. There's more oil today in proven reserves than ever before in human history." [Western Standard (Alberta), 2/13/06]

Corsi Wrote a Book Claiming Democrats Were Being Corrupted by Iranian Funding and Helping Iranians Get Nukes. "After their bitter campaign 2004 experience with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, John Kerry and his fellow Dems aren't waiting to be shot at again. Yesterday, aides to Sens. Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy jumped all over literary mugger Jerome Corsi, co-author of the Kerry-bashing best seller 'Unfit for Command.' They knocked him to the ground and kicked him in the face (metaphorically, anyway) over his next Democrattrashing tome, 'Atomic Iran: How the Terrorist Regime Bought the Bomb and American Politicians.' The book - which Nashville's Cumberland House Publishing won't release till next month - claims Democratic pols are being corrupted by Iranian money and helping the nuke-seeking mullahs in Tehran." [Daily News (New York), 2/24/05]

Corsi Wrote Unfit For Command Although He Was Not a Veteran. "Though not a veteran himself, Corsi co-authored ``Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry." [Boston Herald, 1/25/05]


To read more of his posts, follow this link: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/user-posts?name=jrlc

  • "Let's see exactly why it isn't the case that Islam is a worthless, dangerous Satanic religion? Where's the proof to the contrary?"
  • "Islam is like a virus -- it affects the mind -- maybe even better as an analogy -- it is a cancer that destroys the body it infects."

  • "First let's undermine the US in Vietnam. Then we can go for gay marriage. When you get to be Pres. JFK-lite, there will be no end to how much of America we can destroy."
  • "Just don't let anybody put a tablet with the Ten Commandments in front of the school where that girl wants to wear a Muslim scarf -- OH, No --- then the RATS would complain. Anti- Christian, Anti-American -- just like their Presidential Candidate -- Jean Francois Kerrie."
  • "After he married TerRAHsa, didn't John Kerry begin practicing Judiasm? He also has paternal gradparents that were Jewish. What religion is John Kerry?"
  • "Kerry has a long history of Communist supporters."
  • "Kerry offers a clear choice. Anti-American hatred."
  • "John F-ing Commie Kerry and Commie Ted discuss their plan to hand America over to our nation's enemies."

  • "The only good Mullah is a dead Mullah." [12/21/01]
  • "Forget about democracy. Just get out the checkbook and put everybody in Iraq on the payroll. That's all they want. Pay them first, democracy (or some b.s. Islamic version of it) will follow." [6/18/03]
  • "Mohammed-al-Mohammed proclaiming guidance from his hate-god allah-i'll-be-da*ned-allah kills another dozen women and children by convincing a teenager to blow him/her/self up for victory in another world. Haven't we all had enough of this stupid "religion"?" [5/17/03]
  • "Another Mohammed-al-Mohammed Islam religion of hate maniac bites the dust. (Top Iraqi army official surrenders") [5/17/03]
  • "Certainly can't be one of the Islam is a Religion of Peace hijackers?" [Bus Hijacking Near Bremen, Germany] [4/25/03]
  • "One more Mohammed al-Mohammed el-Mohammed Mohammed iced -- great. " [Car Bomb Kills Egyptian Islamist in Lebanon Camp] [3/1/03]
  • "Let them build mosques -- seems about all the Germans are worth these days."( Germany's Economic Woes) [2/6/03]
  • "Islam - the Legacy of Clinton." (AFP: Two Chechens with belts of explosives stopped in Moscow) [12/24/02]
  • "Islam is like a virus -- it affects the mind -- maybe even better as an analogy -- it is a cancer that destroys the body it infects. A throwback, Medieval, anti-modern, anti-science, anti-knowledge doctrine." [11/26/02]
  • "Forget it -- the only thing these Islamonazis understand is force -- time to nuke the Temple of the Dome and send this "religion" back to Hell, the place it came from. " [11/17/02]
  • "Go for the Oil Fields. Set the mad dog lawyers loose!!! Let's ROLL!!! Take even the diapers from their heads. Remember -- according to the Koran, Islam approves of lying as long as it is to non-believers. Saudis are lying killers who harbor killers." [11/17/02]
  • "All-ah be damned. What took him so long?" [11/14/02]
  • "Islam is like a virus -- it infects the minds of the believers. Islamonazis are, unfortunately, the logical extreme of the "religion."" [11/13/02]
  • "Good plan -- raise OBL from the dead every time we get ready to ice another Islamonazi -- ON TO BAGHDAD. LET'S ROLL !!!" [11/13/02]
  • "Nuke the ISLAM-nazis and let's move on. No more MUSLAMO-fascists!!" [11/10/02]
  • "Islam has declared World War III against everything non-Muslim. " [10/28/02]
  • " When will the liberal media wake up to see that Islam has declared a World War against everyting non-Muslim. May Allah be damned to the hell Muslims wish to create on earth." [10/25/02]
  • " Are there any Islamic "clerics" who aren't violent?" [10/20/02]
  • " May Islam join the garbage heap of worthless religions we have grown beyond. Any believers of Hermes out there?" [10/13/02]
  • "Muslims regularly trash religious sites holy to others. Jerusalem has a series of sites the Muslims have wrecked (e.g., the bus station they placed below the "Golgatha" site honored by many as an alternative location for the Christ's crucifixion). Seems like the Muslim principle that it is okay to lie to infidels. Very different mindset -- no respect for anything non-Muslim" [9/30/02]
  • "ALL Arab MUSLIMS lie (the Koran endorses lying to infidels, namely us) -- none of these names are real -- Abdallah is really Mohammad Mohammad Mohammad readily altered to include Atta or Haj or whatever else they decide to call themselves for the moment." [7/10/02]
  • "Gotta love this stupid religion, ISLAM -- Makes the Nazis look like a Sunday stroll in the park. ISLAM -- it's gotta be straight from HELL. Just the Devil in disguise -- that seems to about sum it up." [6/14/02]
  • "Arabs lie. ISLAM preaches lying to Infidels. Fingerprints don't lie. Boo-hoo -- time to demand IDs to check into hotels and passport registration for all foreign nationalists who want hotel rooms. Also, ID checks and passport registrations for anyone renting an apartment." [6/5/02]
  • "Let's get rid of all the Saudi Arabians -- that would have gone a long way to preventing Sept. 11." [6/5/02]
  • "Yet another violent raghead named Mohammad. What's new? Islam looks like a cancer, a plague, a deadly virus. No doctor worries about the free speech rights of cancer cells." [6/5/02]
  • "Yet another Little Islamic Man of Hate. Is there any other kind?" [5/31/02]
  • "The only thing the Islamic world understands is force. Let's destroy a few of these hate schools and start targeting these mad preachers of hate." [5/22/02]
  • "Let's see -- who is it not politically correct to profile? Islam the "Peaceful Religion" whose Fundamental believers are insane, suicidal killers that hate America and all democratic societies? Or Arabs whose racial hatred of Jews drives them to create secret societies of terrorists sworn to eliminate Israel and all states who support Israel?" [5/20/02]
  • "Finally a way to end Jihad. Maybe the whole Arab world will blow itself up -- live by the sword, die by the sword -- seems an ancient formula. Bye, Bye Jihad." [5/20/02]
  • "I repeat: Muslims, cancer cells. It's hard to tell the difference. No doctor worries about the First Amendment rights of cancer cells. The therapy is to eliminate cancer cells so the body can go on living. Great to repeat it -- keeps the thread going. Let the Muslims stop preaching terror and I'll revise my view. Meanwhile, Muslims, cancer cells is an equation that works." [5/20/02]
  • "May all these Arab maniacs explode and kill themselves -- next time, maybe they will take Arab*RAT with them. Best solution to the homicide bombers is that they eliminate themselves, with as little loss to civilians as possible." [5/20/02]
  • "I repeat: Muslims, cancer cells. It's hard to tell the difference. No doctor worries about the First Amendment rights of cancer cells. The therapy is to eliminate cancer cells so the body can go on living." [5/19/02]
  • "Muslims, cancer cells. It's hard to tell the difference. No doctor worries about the First Amendment rights of cancer cells. The therapy is to eliminate cancer cells so the body can go on living." [5/17/02]
  • "File under the category "Islam is a worthless, violent CULT, not a Religion."[3/28/02]


FALSE: "We find there is even uncertainty whether Stanley Ann and Obama Senior were ever married in a church." [p. 44]

TIME Reported On Obama's Parents' Divorce Records. TIME reported, "On Feb. 2, 1961, several months after they met, Obama's parents got married in Maui, according to divorce records." [TIME, 4/9/08]

Corsi Cites Time Story To Say "Divorce Papers Confirm..." Corsi wrote, "Other sources say divorce papers confirm that a civil ceremony was held on Maui, on February 2, 1961, when Ann was three months pregnant with Obama." Corsi cites the April 9th, 2008 Time story for his reference to Obama's parents' wedding. [p. 44]


FALSE: "Senator Obama could claim to be a citizen of Kenya, as well as of the United States. Obama can trace his heritage back to his mother, who was born in the United States and was an American citizen when he was born, and to his father, who was born in Kenya and was a Kenyan citizen when Obama was born." [p 103]

Kenya Does Not Allow Dual Citizenship Applications for People Over 21 Years of Age. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management writes of Kenya, "DUAL CITIZENSHIP: Not recognized except for persons under 21 years old." The Kenyan Constitution writes, "A person who, but for the proviso to section 87 (1), would be a citizen of Kenya by virtue of that subsection shall be entitled, upon making application before the specified date in such manner as may be prescribed by or under an Act of Parliament, to be registered as a citizen of Kenya: Provided that a person who has not attained the age of twenty-one years (other than a woman who is or has been married) may not himself make an application under this subsection, but an application may be made on his behalf by his parent or guardian." [U.S. Office of Personnel Management; Kenyan Constitution]

Even if Obama Had Applied for Dual Citizenship Before He Was 21--Which He Did Not--It Would Have Expired. "A person who, upon the attainment of the age of twenty-one years, is a citizen of Kenya and also a citizen of some other country other than Kenya shall, subject to subsection (7), cease to be a citizen of Kenya upon the specified date unless he has renounced his citizenship of that other country, taken the oath of allegiance and, in the case of a person who was born outside Kenya, made and registered such declaration of his intentions concerning residence as may be prescribed by or under an Act of Parliament." [Kenyan Constitution]


Corsi Wrote a Book Claiming Democrats Were Being Corrupted by Iranian Funding and Helping Iranians Get Nukes. "After their bitter campaign 2004 experience with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, John Kerry and his fellow Dems aren't waiting to be shot at again. Yesterday, aides to Sens. Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy jumped all over literary mugger Jerome Corsi, co-author of the Kerry-bashing best seller 'Unfit for Command.' They knocked him to the ground and kicked him in the face (metaphorically, anyway) over his next Democrattrashing tome, 'Atomic Iran: How the Terrorist Regime Bought the Bomb and American Politicians.' The book - which Nashville's Cumberland House Publishing won't release till next month - claims Democratic pols are being corrupted by Iranian money and helping the nuke-seeking mullahs in Tehran." [Daily News (New York), 2/24/05]

The Big Lie always worked better for the Nazi's and the Communists and for Karl Rove than little lies did. The same thing is at work here.


Why do corporations complain about taxes when most are able to avoid paying?

Hi everybody,

The GAO did some math this week, Robert Borosage writes:
Remember the old Steve Martin routine on how to make a million dollars and not pay taxes: "First, make a million dollars... Second, don't pay taxes." Turns out Martin's joke is standard operating procedure for corporations in the United States -- only, in comparison, Martin was a piker.
I always loved that joke but this week the joke is on all those WMC sad sacks and their legal shills who have made a career complaining that Wisconsin is a Tax Hell. Maybe they complain because Wisconsin is the only place corporations have to pay taxes. Hm.

Here's some more:
Why is this important? Well, the Bush administration, led by Treasury Secretary Paulson and conservatives led by John McCain are mounting a major campaign to cut the corporate tax rate even more, arguing that we are crippled competitively by having a US rate higher than any industrial nation other than Japan. "America has the second highest business [tax]rate in the entire world," says John McCain. "Is it any wonder that jobs are moving overseas? We're taxing them out of the country." But the GAO study confirms what we already knew: whatever the nominal tax rate, US corporations pay an effective rate among the lowest in the industrial world.

Yet the core of McCain economic agenda consists of breath-taking corporate tax breaks. He calls for cutting the top corporate rate from 35% to 25% and allowing corporations to write off investments in the first year. Combined, the Tax Policy Center wonks cost these at over $1.3 trillion over 10 years. Len Burman of Tax Policy Center estimates that in total, McCain would cut corporate revenues by about 50% from current levels. They'll be making hundreds of millions of dollars and not paying taxes. This is no joke.

Well, it's no joke to me. I suppose if I could avoid paying my share of running the country I'd be pretty happy... a guilty conscience is easy to live with when you have servants and a place in Tahoe.

Oh, here's some more.
Representation Without Taxation: Study Says Most Corporations Avoid US Income Tax: "WASHINGTON — Two-thirds of U.S. corporations paid no federal income taxes between 1998 and 2005, according to a new report from Congress.

The study by the Government Accountability Office released Tuesday said about 68 percent of foreign companies doing business in the U.S. avoided corporate taxes over the same period."

Wait, do I hear violins playing somewhere?