Monday, July 28, 2008

Security breach at Moraine Park Technical College [sic]

Hi everybody,

MPTC has been hacked. Why did I have to read about this in the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen?

From: : Beaver Dam Daily Citizen Online

MPTC warns of data breach

Moraine Park Technical College, with campuses in Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and West Bend, sent a letter to its bookstore customers on Tuesday notifying them of an incident that occurred when the equipment hosting the system provided by the bookstore software provider experienced a security breach.

According to Moraine Park President Gayle Hytrek, the information affects only those customers who purchased books and supplies between 2002 and July 2006.

She also indicated that at this point, there is no reason to believe any records have been compromised or used inappropriately.

"We still felt it was important to notify those individuals who have used our bookstore services," Hytrek said.

"This is a regrettable incident, and every effort is being made to assure that the concerns and questions of those affected are addressed."

Hytrek also stated that this incident is unusual in its nature and she emphasized the safety of using Moraine Park's college bookstore services.

The college has been working with its bookstore software provider to ensure an incident of this nature does not reoccur with bookstore purchases.

The Liberal Press Bogeyman. Campbell Brown, for CNN, slams impeachment hearing as kabuki theater.

Hi everybody,

More evidence that "the liberal press" was just a bogeyman hiding under the bed. Of course, some people can't live without a bogeyman and the fear it creates.

Anyway, some material from an assortment of blogs and the Washington Post.

CNN Anchor Campbell Brown Slams Impeachment As Kabuki Theater.

This isn't the first time anyone raised the question about ideological taint. The Huffington Post's David Fiderer asked as soon as she married her current husband, Dan Senor, former spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

In different ways, Campbell Brown's husband is still shilling for the US occupation of Iraq. Check out Senor's piece that challenges Rajiv Chandrasekaran's reporting in The Washington Post, and some reactions here and here.

These days, Senor is a Fox News Contributor who tackles bigger topics, like "The Long Arm of Iran" for The Wall Street Journal, and his coup de grace, an "investigative piece" broadcast four weeks ago, called "Iran: the Ticking Time Bomb."

So, to analyze the big issues of the day you need to consider facts that may impugn the credibility of Dan Senor. Campbell Brown now faces that challenge as a brand new CNN anchor who will soon host a prime-time news program.

No doubt, CNN trusts Brown to be a strict secularist in separating matters professional away from matters personal - such as her husband's advocacy of military action against Iran. But there is absolutely no way that Brown or CNN could ever claim they will avoid the appearance of a conflict. It's very easy for CNN to report on Warner Brothers and acknowledge their common corporate parent. What will Campbell Brown do when she reports on diplomacy with Iran?

De do do do, de da da da, is all I want to say to you.

Incidentally, do you notice how, at moments in history like this one, the fact that The Police have a Wikipedia entry devoted to a single one of their songs seems infinitely more important than the quality of our news media?

I note it in passing.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Is it time to apply supply-side economics to university education?

Hi everybody,

If we don't have enough college graduates, can we compete with China? Some of our business people wave this question off as silly and make condescending noises about the solid base of American innovation -- and yet, without engineers, physicists, and sufficient leavening by poets and historians, we don't really stand a chance. Look, GE is building MRI machines in China now so why would they need to pay Americans, in West Bend or Kewaskum, American wages?

Supply-Side Education -

Something to think about.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

John McCain on gas prices and the recession: "it's all in your head!"

Hi everybody,

As we all suspected, the lousy economy is all in our heads.

-- and while we wait for those who own our government to correct our psychology, this amusement:


Thursday, July 17, 2008

McCain raises $62.5 million through public finance loophole

Hi everybody,

More McCain prevarication... um, I mean dancing. From the Jed Report:
McCain raises $62.5 million through public finance loophole: Tue Jul 15, 11:42 PM PDT

Update: After I posted this entry, I found an article by the WSJ's Todd Farnam reporting on the release of these numbers -- good for him, and good for the WSJ.

Here's a story you can say you read first at The Jed Report: according to FEC reports filed on July 15, through June 30, John McCain had raised at $62.5 million in private funds that can be used for his general election campaign -- even though he's already committed to accepting public funding for the general.

Moreover, based on my own analysis, of that $62.5 million, three-quarters -- $46.3 million -- comes from a total of 1,803 wealthy individuals who made five figure contributions averaging $25,664 each.

So not only is John McCain blatantly violating his public financing pledge, but he's doing it in grand style, raising money in increments of up to $70,000 per donor -- more than thirty times the amount a donor can give to Barack Obama's general election campaign."

I'm going to have to start thinking of new ways not to be surprised.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wisconsin Family Council CEO and Ayotollah Julaine Appling now embarrassing Wisconsin on CNN.

Hi everybody,

Some email from FairWisconsin came in today. Here's the text:

On July 9th, aired a story from WKOW about an obscure law facing Wisconsin gay and lesbian couples if they enter into a marriage outside the state that would not be legal in Wisconsin. In the interview, Wisconsin Family Council CEO Julaine Appling said verbatim that “that’s a defrauding of the government” and “someone needs to prosecute them.”

Later, Wisconsin Family Council issued a denial of the comments made by Appling, calling the story “distorted and misleading,” and claiming that what she actually said was that gay couples who get married in California are “taking a risk that some DA somewhere could charge them under this law, unlikely as that may be.” To see the text of the Wisconsin Family Council's denial click here.

Clearly, the only “defrauding” going on is the re-writing of history coming from the Wisconsin Family Council.

See for yourself what Appling actually said:

We need a new acronym for "Hey Wake Up! Crazy Judgmental Self-Righteous Mullahs Are Not Any Better When They Are Americans."



Not great, although it is an anagram for "BUM JAW WANTS CHARM" which tells you a lot about their main problem [there are, admittedly, a few more appropriate, if ruder, possibilities] -- but it's still too complicated to be useful. Too bad.

On the other hand, I'm still trying to work out what's so complicated about keeping government intervention out of religious matters like marriage.

And so it goes.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Justice Ziegler pays off the WMC for campaign contributions?

Hi everybody,

Back when Annette Ziegler's ethical lapses first hit the mainstream media I drew a comparison to a famous incident (and political lesson) having to do with Julius Caesar's wife, Pompeia.

It's this: it doesn't matter whether she did anything wrong when she's in a position that can never afford to come under suspicion. In her position, even the appearance of evil, is evil.

Having happily accepted wickedly engineered, slop-slinging campaign commercials and funding from the WMC, Justice Ziegler is now in the position of Caesar's wife: she looks like she's in their pocket -- whether she is or not.

The thing about being a judge is that the moment you've compromised yourself, someone will always be there to question your credibility and competence -- regardless of whether you really are credible or competent.

And so, it's come to pass.

Example 1:

State has best high court that money can buy
By JOEL MCNALLY Monday, July 14, 2008

and Example 2:

Ziegler, big lobby think alike

Business group invested heavily in her election to high court

Posted: July 14, 2008

Madison - State Supreme Court Justice Annette Ziegler said Friday that she did not have a conflict of interest in writing a court decision that came down on the side championed by a group that spent more than $2 million to get her elected last year.

Ziegler authored the 4-3 decision that backed the position of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business lobby, which spent more than $2 million to help get Ziegler elected. WMC spent more than Ziegler’s own campaign, but by law the two could not coordinate efforts.

She said she had no reason to step aside in the case.

“I was elected to do a job, and I did my job,” Ziegler said. “I was assigned to write this case, and I wrote it consistent with the majority decision. There were four justices who agreed on the outcome.”

True or not, fair or not, it looks like the job she's done is the job WMC has paid her to do.

Every decision she makes from now on, as I said last year, will invite suspicion.

And so it goes,


Monday, July 14, 2008

State budget a treadmill for Assembly Republicans

Some recent footage of State Republican leaders working on the budget.

If you keep trying the same thing over and over again, and expect different results each time then... well, then you're a neo-con in the Wisconsin State House.


[originally Cats on a Treadmill]

Pastor Hagee's Media Supression Scandal moves along.

And threatens Sen Liebermann.

I noticed that the YouTube link I had up on an earlier post got whacked by YouTube. Turns out there was a reason. Here are a couple of links to stories in the Huffington Post.

Hagee vids removed from YouTube..

Bruce Wilson: Pastor Hagee's Media Supression Scandal Threatens To Splash Embattled Lieberman - Politics on The Huffington Post

Why hasn't anyone else said that American Mullahs aren't any better than Iranian ones?


Saturday, July 12, 2008

And an amusement: A History of Hooch

Hi everyone,

Something for everyone: A History of Hooch


Who needs public intellectuals when we have economic power?

Hi everybody,

Well, maybe not anymore.... Prospect Magazine's international poll of most important public intellectuals had some surprising results this year -- although it is nice to see that Umberto Eco and Noam Chomsky are still in there.

In any case, the most popular public intellectuals on earth are now largely people you've never heard of and write in languages you can't read.

Intellectuals: 'Intellectuals—the results' by | Prospect Magazine July 2008 issue 148

The followup story and analysis appear here.

One of my colleagues has worked out that the United States is currently in the same place, educationally speaking, it was for manufacturing in about 1982 -- top of the world and with no idea what kind of hard rain the next 10 years would bring.


Monday, July 07, 2008

Why I'm voting Republican.

Hi everybody,

Here's why:


West Bend Alderman packs up values and vanishes into the night.

Hi everybody,

Over a year ago I put up a note about the Tempest in a Teacup the West Bend city council went through to appoint an interim mayor. Here's a note from a reader with an update about the disappearing alderman, Scott Frederick.

Funny that Boots & Sabers & WatchfulEyeWB (maybe it should be "HeadUpMyButtWB") have not caught on to this topic yet - Here's Mike Nichols update (MJS 7/6/08) -

Alderman who left meeting ends up leaving West Bend, too

If anybody happens to stumble upon former West Bend Ald. Scott Frederick somewhere, ask him a question on behalf of his ex-constituents.

What gives?

Other than, of course, him giving what we now know was mere lip service to the idea of decent community representation.

Frederick flapped his lips plenty about a year ago, in June of 2007, when the West Bend Common Council was debating how to fill the 10 months remaining in former mayor Doug Bade’s term. Bade had resigned and moved out of state.

Frederick wanted to consider applications from a broad pool of city residents and wanted to appoint someone from that pool to a five-month term. A special election would have been held at the end of that five months. The winner of that election, however, would also have served only five months, at which point another, regular election would have been held.

A majority of other alderman favored simply appointing a council member to a 10-month, interim, mayoral term and then having a regular election.

They were about to vote for that option, in fact, at a meeting on June 4, 2007, when Frederick and two of his fellow aldermen, Allen Carter and Terry Vrana, walked out the door in order to prevent the appointment.

Just got up and left.

“It was the only recourse I had,” Frederick told a reporter. “City residents are entitled to have elected representatives.”

He urged the public to rise up in opposition against what he called “a gang of five” controlling the council.

And then, after Kristine Deiss was appointed interim mayor a week later, claimed, “The City of West Bend (had) just reached a new level of corruption.”

Both Deiss and her allies, he told me, had “disenfranchised the West Bend community (in order) to accomplish their own personal agenda.”

Strong words — especially for a guy who, now, seems to be at a loss for almost any at all.

Frederick, who was elected to a two-year term in the spring of 2007, is no longer an alderman.

He didn’t resign, according to West Bend City Attorney Mary Schanning.

“He,” she said, “just moved.”

As she wrote in a memo to City Administrator Dennis Melvin and Deiss, his aldermanic seat “became vacant” when he moved on May 30, 2008.

That happens from time to time. Part-time elected officials give up their seats before their term is over.

But usually, there is the courtesy of a little advance notice.

It was common knowledge that he had his house up for sale. But Melvin says he didn’t know Frederick was moving out of the district and giving up his seat until the very day he actually did.

The city administrator says he had been trying to reach Frederick for a week or two, and finally talked to him May 30. He doesn’t recall for sure who initiated the call that day, but thinks it was Frederick calling him back.

On the very day that, according to Schanning, he moved.

“I believe,” said Melvin, “he told me he was moving to the Kewaskum area.”

“I think it just happened quickly,” said Melvin. “Could it have been handled differently? Probably.”

Deiss is more direct.

“I was flabbergasted,” she said.

She too knew that his house had been up for sale. But she said there was no advance warning he was going.

“Nothing at all.”

“That was a disservice he did to his constituents,” said Deiss, who was elected to a full term as mayor in April. “He left them high and dry.”

“He walked out of that meeting,” she said. “Now he is walking out on his constituents, too.”

According to City Clerk Amy Reuteman, the last Common Council meeting that Frederick attended was May 5. Even before moving, he missed both a Common Council and a Finance Committee meeting May 19, she said.

His current term doesn’t end until April of 2009, so the city is asking people who might want the seat to submit a letter of interest by July 15. Interviews will not be until early August — so his district will be without representation until at least then.

Frederick’s old number in West Bend has been disconnected, and I couldn’t find a new one for him in Kewaskum or anywhere else. I did try to send him an e-mail at an old e-mail address but it was returned as undeliverable so we don’t have his side of things — unlike last year.

When he lectured everyone about how city residents “are entitled to have elected representatives.”

And complained about how some people had allegedly “disenfranchised the West Bend community (in order) to accomplish their own personal agenda.”

Something, it retrospect, he appears to know something about.
Ald Frederick embodied the Me-Generation neo-con values perfectly: political and economic principles designed to make him comfortable at the expense of his neighbors and temper tantrums when he didn't get his way.

And the beat goes on.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Be a Budget Hero on the US Federal budget.

Hi everyone,

Here's a fun link from WUWM in Milwaukee for an interactive game that let's you try to balance the US Budget. It's great fun.

I picked National Security, Greening America, and Health & Wellness as my core values and, somehow, cut the budget, downsized the government, and put the US into the black well past 2070. Oh, and added a 600 billion surplus while funding national health care, education, and adding 2 new army divisions (plus maintaining our stealth fighter fleet).

Go have a look. Let me know how you do!