April 30, 2009

Gov. Jim Doyle worships the Antichrist

Funny stuff from Michael Horne.

Seriously, would somebody please inform these people that there is no "Antichrist" in the Bible? There are "antichrists," plural, who were reportedly wandering around 1600 years ago. See, e.g., 1 John 2:18.

And that was supposedly an indication of the "End Times."

The End Times have since been postponed four billion years or so, until that star closest to Earth starts running out of hydrogen to burn.

America: All is lost

When the United States Supreme Court goes from 22% Democratic appointees to 33% Democratic appointees, it's game over.

Might as well just unlock all the prisons right now.

And how come we've not heard a peep about either Gerard E. Lynch or Andre M. Davis? Obama nominated them both to the circuit courts of appeal in early April. Didn't judges used to be important?

They were when Terri Schiavo was on life support.

Remember? Tom DeLay couldn't locate one single activist judge in the land, so he was going to burn down a courthouse, or something.

Obama's first nominee to the Seventh Circuit, David F. Hamilton, appeared at his second Senate hearing yesterday. But only one Republican bothered to turn up, albeit the craziest one.

And even he behaved like he was under heavy sedation.

That'll teach them to write an LTE

Or continue paying the subscription, if it was me.

In the good old days, newspapers would publish letters to the editor in response to issues raised by the paper. The letters might express agreement, disagreement, correct a factual error, and so forth.

The correspondence was allowed to stand — or fall — on its own merits. Letters were addressed to the editor, but they were published for the readers. At least, most papers treat them that way.

When the Toronto Telegram went belly up in the early 70s, it was replaced by a cheap tabloid called the Toronto Sun. The Sun ran letters to the editor too, of course. But each was accompanied by an italicized, often unwarrantedly snide riposte from the paper's editors.

That was distasteful and insulting enough.

Now we have the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, where a letter writer can expect no less than a member of the newspaper's own editorial board, name of Patrick McIlheran, to clamber aboard his little soapbox/blog in a self-righteous huff to mock and denounce the correspondent not just once but twice, in separate entries.

And for what? For the offense of managing to agitate Mr. McIlheran's longstanding devotion to the project of torture apologetics, naturally.

From a perspective of ethical journalistic practice, it's remarkably bad form for a paper's editors to attack a letter writer. But perhaps McIlheran's petty performance is evidence that his conscience is finally getting the better of his enthusiastic defense of torture.

Although that seems unlikely.

Waterboard Charlie Sykes for charity

I can see this guy here is going to be hugely entertaining.
And, speaking of entertaining, Boots & Kittens is updated.

Gableman, J., did not participate.

Through April 30, 2009, number of written opinions:
Abrahamson 6*
Bradley 6
Crooks 5
Roggensack 5
Ziegler 4
Prosser 3
Gableman 2
Not counting attorney discipline cases and a boilerplate per curiam dismissal. And, obviously, only one of several possible measures. Plus, Gableman occupies the "gofer" chair in the conference room and there's a number of worthwhile take-out joints around the Capitol.

* Not bad for being 75 and running a Statewide election campaign.

CLE bargain of the century

Sixty bucks for 11.5 credits? Sign me up.

Some props for the composer

Sinatra classic lifts Gokey into this week's 'Idol' elite

First of all, I thought Come Rain Or Come Shine was a Sandra Bernhard classic. But what it is is a Harold Arlen classic.

Personally, I can't stand American Idol for a variety of reasons. But I was rudely awakened this morning by some twot in a ridiculous mini-fedora engaged in attempting to warble My Funny Valentine, which is not a "Rat Pack classic" but rather the ingenious handiwork of Richard Rodgers, one of the finest songwriters of all times.

I often give My Funny Valentine to my piano students because — among other things — its slow ballad tempo makes it easy to play and because it's a brilliantly succinct compendium of clever chord progressions and basic musical form.

(A 16-bar verse, an 8-bar bridge in the relative major, and an 8-bar reprise with coda, all containing just about every type of 7th-chord they'll ever need to know, for the pedagogically inclined.)

As for American Idol, by all means brutalize Grease Is The Word and MacArthur Park, but please, please leave the masterpieces alone.

H1N1 + HIV = Hilarity!


(No Nazi Swastikas this time out.)

A civilized man

It is a peculiarity of such a man that he is usually in favor of whatever the mob is against, and against whatever it is in favor of.
— H.L. Mencken

April 29, 2009

Arlen Specter hyperbole watch

No, not Michelle Malkin, Charlie Sykes, or Rush Limbaugh.
[Arlen Specter] destroyed the foundation of Anglo-American jurisprudence. — Paul Soglin, Waxing America
That would be one Hell of an accomplishment indeed.

Mayor Soglin is apparently referring to Arlen Specter's vote in favor of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which contained a provision (MCA §7) enabling the federal government to suspend the writ of habeas corpus for certain detainees captured in the "war on terror."

According to Arlen Specter's commentary at the time, he voted for the MCA as a matter of political expediency, even though he was strongly opposed to the provision in question.

Moreover, Sen. Specter believed the provision was constitutionally infirm, in that present circumstances did not adequately conform with U.S. Const. art. I, § 9, cl. 2, and predicted that it would be declared so by the federal courts on those grounds and on those that the MCA impermissibly stripped the courts of jurisdiction.

He was correct on both counts, and it was so decided.

As a matter of fact, Specter filed an amicus curiae brief with the United States Supreme Court in the case, Boumediene v. Bush.

Specter's brief concludes:
To avoid an incongruous legal "black hole" at Guantanamo, this Court should strike down the MCA’s illegal suspension of the Great Writ [of habeas corpus] and allow Congress to establish procedures consistent with what national security and the Constitution require.
Which is what the Boumediene Court did, in spite of the risibly strenuous objections of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.*

Read Specter's foundation-destroying arguments here (.pdf; 36 pgs.).

* "The game of bait-and-switch that today's opinion plays ... will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed."

How far gone is the GOP?

Pretty far gone, when Gary Bauer is its voice of reason:
The longtime Republican evangelical activist said Arlen Specter's critics did not give him enough credit for his work in the Senate. "I don't think that Clarence Thomas would be on the Supreme Court today if not for Arlen Specter," said Bauer.
Arlen Specter's most important role, and the one in which he's wielded the most power, has been as a member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, where federal judges are screened.

He also supported and voted to confirm the last two Supreme Court nominees, John Roberts and Samuel Alito. Few Democrats joined him, especially in Alito's case. Obama voted against both.

While Specter opposed Robert Bork, contrary to revisionist Republican persecution mythology, Bork made his own bed with his radical views and his suspicious "confirmation conversion."

Separation of Church and Taste

It is finished.

April 28, 2009

A Specter is haunting Kentucky

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-K.Y.), said the switch posed a "threat to the country."
Red alert.

At least Grandma Hatch will be happy. The big challenge for the GOP will be finding a new committee member crazier than Tom Coburn.

Rep. Michele Bachmann is in the wrong (hyperbaric) chamber.

MKE's Chief Flynn: The fallout continues

When last we checked in with WTMJ radio's a cappella vocalist Jeff Wagner, he was experiencing some difficulty engaging with the infamous "baby mama" court of appeals opinion of January '09.

Now he's claiming that Milwaukee Chief of Police Edward Flynn has "ordered his officers to ignore the law."

This is pure fantasy, of course.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's celebrated gun memo is no more "the law" than is this here blog post. Strictly speaking, Van Hollen's memo isn't even a "legal opinion," as Jeff Wagner calls it.

It's an "informal Advisory Memorandum," and it includes an express statement distinguishing it from the AG's opinions mentioned in Wis. Stat. § 165.015(1). It's meant only to be "educational and informational" (and the former purpose has turned out to include for a number of delightfully unintentional effects).

Which is especially noteworthy because Jeff Wagner himself links to a WTMJ news item that depicts Flynn as telling Milwaukee police officers to "ignore the memo." So how Wagner gets from there to "ignore the law" remains an ineffable mystery of construction.

Recall that the memo's function was simply to expound on whether openly carrying a firearm might per se warrant a charge of disorderly conduct, which is ultimately a question for the district attorney.

How police officers in the field deal with Wisconsinites wandering about armed on city streets is a different story. Indeed, the memo wasn't even addressed to police officers, so in that sense alone, Chief Flynn's advice to the rank and file is perfectly appropriate.

It's like saying, 'Don't read John Chisholm's inter-office mail.'

Anyway, Jeff Wagner's recent pontifications are in service of congratulating the Deputy Chief of Police in Waukesha, Wayne Dussault. Dussault, enthuses Wagner, is a law enforcement officer who "actually believes in following the law." As opposed to Edward Flynn, apparently, who actually doesn't believe in following the law.

What Dussault told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, however, is that carriers of "exposed and holstered handguns" will only be "observ[ed to] see if they're committing any actions that draw suspicion."

Observed for how long, for which actions, and by how many officers, he doesn't say. (And prospective open keepers and bearers may want to further bear that potential commitment of LE resources in mind.)

Except among the several hypothetical scenarios proffered by Van Hollen, Dussault's relatively innocuous situation won't be found. Instead Van Hollen contemplates, for example, a shotgun-bearing hunter "quietly tracking game" along a "crowded street" who may or may not be overheard "barking" at passersby.

And that manner of activity, affirmed Dussault, "would be approached differently." Who knows, the said urban hunter may even have to be "taken down," as Chief Flynn suggested.

Like AG Van Hollen himself memorandum'd, by way of citing a series of U.S. and Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions governing police action obtaining from legally permissible inferences of reasonable suspicion, it "depends on the totality of the circumstances":
Even though open carry enjoys constitutional protection, it may still give rise to reasonable suspicion when considered in totality. It is not a shield against police investigation or subsequent prosecution.
And the cases teach that among such circumstances are those where a suspect may warrant being "taken down." That is, after all, the memo's bottom line: It depends. But everybody already knew that.

One should be grateful to Chief Flynn if not for his demonstrated commitment to maintaining public safety on the streets of Milwaukee, then at least for his ability to prod the local conservative blogogentsia to even more fantastical flights of silliness.

P.S. And that would be Townes Van Zandt's Pancho and Lefty. A poncho is a Peruvian Snuggie™ where Willie Nelson stashes his bud.

April 27, 2009

So what else is new

Fox to air "Lie to Me" instead of Obama

Dad29 on the briefs

Dyspeptic Über-Catholic liturgist and celebrated internets logician Dad29 of Brookfield, WI has helpfully identified the dispositive legal issues presented in Americans United's motion for a preliminary injunction against Elmbrook Church:
Elmbrook is using a facility which accommodates all the requisite parking needs for the event(s) [and] is air-conditioned and has comfortable seating.

That's so one might enjoy a little A/C and a bit of stuffed cushion prior to his or her eternal separation from God and consignment among the other "damned, demons, and souls filled with hate."

In fact, supplicants gain access to the said parking lot via streets named "Agape" and "Barnabas" and if they had had mechanical refrigeration in the Bible, the authors of the Book of Revelation never would have been tripping on Claviceps purpurea.

Commencement speech aborted

According to Mary Ann Glendon, President Barack Obama is "a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church's position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice."

Or could it be that Obama has his own position, one based in something other than religious doctrine — i.e., substantive due process and United States Supreme Court precedent — that has absolutely no connection with the Roman Catholic Church's.

In fact I'm certain Obama has expressed sympathy with — and not opposition to — similar religious positions. But this isn't a theocracy.

Previous recipients of the Laetare Medal include an assiduous serial adulterer, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and the actor Martin Sheen.

Isn't Martin Sheen an atheist?

"Thank God I'm an atheist." — Luis Buñuel

Screamers vs. Invokers

Reportedly, the Federalist Society has lately taken to marshaling its formidable legal acumen in defense of former vice-president Richard B. Cheney, Ninth Circuit Judge Jay S. Bybee, et al.

Inquires a Federalist Society worthy, presumably rhetorically: Why should we look to, for example, the waterboarding Grand Inquisitors, when we have the U.S. military's SERE program, in which willing waterboardees were quickly un-drowned at their throwing down of the safe signal. Um, because perhaps the former are more analogous?

The Federalist Society's "purpose," as we are duly advised, "entails reordering priorities within the legal system."

Check. However disingenuously, evidently.

Locally, Marquette University law professor and FedSoc operative Rick Esenberg has promised a series of "blog posts" examining the rationale behind the so-called torture memos.

He's tipped his hand quickly, however, with an amusingly revealing choice of action words. In the course of laying out his internal debate's "guidelines," he describes torture critics as "screaming" while on the other hand, torture defenders are calmly "invoking."

In doing so, Prof. Esenberg has left little doubt as to where he thinks the reasonable conclusions lie. So, let's dispense with the ruse.

Not content with only this dichotomous ad hominem, Esenberg erects a Straw Man to boot: The "screamers," says he, are those doing so "without much thought about what was actually done and how often."

Fallacies aside, here's hoping Prof. Esenberg deigns to address the numerous non-screaming torture critics, those who have actually given a lot of thought to what was done, as well as to how often.

Because there appears to be a considerable quantity of them, including, notably, the former Viet Nam POW and current Senator from Arizona (and especially his comic sidekick) that Prof. Esenberg energetically supported for President of the United States.

Whatever Prof. Esenberg's ultimate conclusions, we can all expect the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's in-house torture apologist and guide to good reading, Patrick McIlheran, to be salivating in anticipation.

In the company of demons

No wonder some kids and their families don't care to attend a graduation ceremony at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, WI:
We [at Elmbrook Church of Brookfield, WI] believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead, of the believer to everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord [Jesus Christ], and of the unbeliever to judgment and eternal separation from God.
"Eternal separation from God," apparently, is a euphemism for "Hell," where the bodily resurrected non-Christian can expect to share, inter alia, "the company of the damned, the demons and the souls filled with hate." David Hume, Albert Einstein, Mohandas Gandhi, that lot.

Not to mention Moses Maimonides and his fellow Talmudists.

It's certainly a charming way to look upon your fellow humans, who happen simply not to share your particularized supernatural beliefs.

"Hell" sounds to me more like an attractive means of escape.

And where might one locate the bodily resurrected Don Patton?

April 25, 2009

The case against torturing Sean Hannity

I wouldn't have thought there was one, but by golly, here it is.
Lord knows he's tortured us long enough. Except I'm sorry I missed Charles Grodin "mocking Hannity's mascara."

h/t Greeley Tribune

Excellent music blog right here.

Republican increases CO2 a hundred-fold

In four minutes, in the U.S. House of Representatives:

Bachmann-Crazy Overdrive happens upon unguarded microphone

"Give me a large tank of CO2 and a small room containing Michele Bachmann, and we'll give her a personal experience." — Pharyngula

Rep. Bachmann is reportedly a frequent Glenn "Tinfoil" Beck guest.

The internets are fixed

You Ain't Seen Nothin' YetBurton Cummings

April 24, 2009

The internets are broken

This sucks.

Animal husbandry, with Pat Buchanan

Some interesting etymology/usage.* It's not exactly a surprise, however, coming from Patrick J. Buchanan. Which is why this is the best comment in the TPM thread:
Is Pat wearing Fendi-style (possibly D&G) eyeglass frames in the frontpage pic? Dawg looks bangin'.
Fendi-rockin' Pat's "blood and soil" reference is noteworthy too. Since Buchanan is lately an MSNBC regular, this must be another example of that liberal fascism all the kids are talking about nowadays.

* Next time you need a dictionary definition, swab your cheek.

A pervert and a pavement pizza

Scores of pictures, including one of a man exiting a Soho sex shop and another of a man being sick on the pavement outside a pub, were removed from Street View last month a day after Google Maps was launched in the UK.
"It's not the beer that makes you sick, it's the bloody diced carrots."
Billy Connolly, CBE

The homosexual penguin agenda

For the third year in a row, a picture book about two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo who cared for an orphaned egg has topped the American Library Association's Top 10 list of the most frequently challenged books.
The authors of And Tango Makes Three cite an enduring notion among conservative parents that telling a child about gay people will increase the child's chances of becoming an aquatic, flightless bird.

If this is true:

"There's an in-built code of right and wrong that's embedded in the human DNA."
Then why do we need archbishops?

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Pangaea)

Of course, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu could have told Joe Barton that oil and gas didn't "get to Alaska," but rather that Alaska got to Alaska before it was Alaska. Then Mr. Chu would have been able to address Joe Barton's idiotic question within the allotted six seconds.

But this is funnier.

Speaking of (Miroslav) Šatan

Tomorrow's sixth game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers (2 p.m. CST, NBC) should be a good one.

Just don't try and watch it at the Shorewood Legion.

Satan wants you to pull out

Just in case you haven't been following the discussion of same-sex marriage at the Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog, here is some of the very latest in "natural law" assertion wisdom:
Our country’s entire legal system is based on religious beliefs.
Some people absolutely refuse to acknowledge that ethics exist independently from supernaturalism.
I don’t recall [Jesus] condemning moving property line markers either.
Must be an early version of the Implied Preemption Doctrine.
Contraceptive sexual relations (even within marriage) ... [are an] affront to the inherent dignity of Man ...
You have to be pretty hardcore to condemn the rhythm method.
The idea that people have a "right" to engage in any sexual activity in private is a legal and social fiction of extremely recent vintage.
So much for "natural law." As far as I can tell, homosexuality is perfectly natural in the sense that it's a fairly regular feature of nature. That it may be uncommon doesn't make it unnatural.

If this guy would just accept that and move on, then maybe he could overcome his apparently obsessive fixation with its mechanics.

Earlier: Madness! Hubris! Wanking!

April 23, 2009

Gableman's wise counsel

Indiana's James Bopp, Jr. is the point man for Michael Gableman's ongoing legal defense against charges Gableman violated a Wisconsin statute by engaging in willful judicial misconduct during his election campaign for the State Supreme Court in 2008.

James Bopp, Jr. is a member of the Republican National Committee (Yo My Little Homies) and in that capacity has drafted a resolution to rename the Democratic Party the "Democrat Socialist Party."

James Bopp, Jr. is also a bit of a nut:
Wrote Bopp, "Just as President Reagan's identification of the Soviet Union as the 'evil empire' galvanized opposition to communism, we hope that the accurate depiction of the Democrats as a Socialist Party will galvanize opposition to their march to socialism."
Or how about renaming the Republican Party the "Axis of Crazy."


GAB opinion sought in mid-life crisis

Dear Government Accountability Board:
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker is scheduled to launch his campaign for governor next Tuesday, just before the Republican Party of Wisconsin State Convention in May. Following that, in June, Walker will embark on a five-day, 36 stop, taxpayer-funded motorcycle media tour across the
state, presumably as an announced candidate for Governor.
What's new this year is Walker will ride his own Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a 2003 Road King 100th Anniversary Edition. The used Road King was a gift to Walker last summer from his wife, Tonette, as a sort of late 40th birthday present.
h/t James Rowen.

Bill Nye the Biblically Incorrect Science Guy

Bill Nye the Science Guy, speaking in Waco, TX, once had the temerity to suggest that our Moon is a reflective accretion of minerals and not a "lesser light," as the team of Deutero-astrophysicists that compiled the Book of Genesis instruct us:
At this point, several people in the audience stormed out, including a woman with three small children who shouted, "We believe in God!" and left.
Teach your children well, lady.

Speaking of Biblical incorrectness, I'm given to understand that "Miss California" (hardly anybody seems to care enough to use her real name) recently defended her studied views on same-sex marriage by claiming they were informed by "Biblical correctness."

"I knew there were secular judges, but I felt I needed to express my passion for the Lord," Ms. Cali said later.

For this unwavering statement of devotion, she was applauded by the Family Values™ contingent, who otherwise remained silent as to the "Biblical correctness" of the spectacle of a nearly completely naked woman* parading salaciously around a stage before millions of teevee viewers (and millions more, thanks to the endless loop now appearing on Uncle Bill O'Reilly's Christmas Factor for Kidz and elsewhere).

Isn't that what they usually call Cafeteria Christianity?

* Not that I'm complaining or anything.

"Cowboys" take sudden heed of civil rights

Right-wing shouters and bloggers — including even Tennessee's Glenn "Instaputz" Reynolds — are predictably and self-righteously horrified at Milwaukee Chief of Police Edward Flynn's reaction to Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's obfuscatory gun memo.

The memo, tactfully released on the 10th anniversary of a deadly mass shooting in Columbine, CO, elicited a response from Flynn that suggested urban police officers might, when confronted with a firearm-toting citizen, "put them on the ground, take the gun away and then decide whether you have a right to carry it."

In fact, reaction from law enforcement to the memo has been pretty much uniform, at least among those interviewed in the press.

Local conservatives, who've spent the last two State Supreme Court elections energetically mocking the alleged tendencies of certain judges to defer to constitutional protections at the detriment of law enforcement, are suddenly assuming the contrary position.

Because it's all different when they're your rights, isn't it?

None of them, naturally, has entertained the strong likelihood that Flynn's remarks were inspired by Van Hollen's own ill-advised hypotheticals involving hunters bearing loaded shotguns "quietly tracking game" along Wisconsin Ave. or State St. during rush hour.

Whether the described activities fit the legal definition of "disorderly conduct" isn't exactly the point in such a situation: public safety is.

As a practical matter, anybody foolish enough to act out one of Van Hollen's scenarios is effectively begging for a police gang tackle.

Nor have the right-wingers engaged Chief Flynn's apparent reasoning, that the memo may send a message to convicted felons, who are prohibited from owning firearms, that so long as they open carry, they might amble casually around Cathedral Square with impunity.

Let's face it, Van Hollen's memo is a bungle, even couched as it is in a series of footnoted legal disclaimers abdicating its authority.

He was asked to discuss a theory of law, and made the mistake of tossing forth a couple of particularly inapt factual scenarios, and it's little wonder that Flynn and the others have responded as they did.

Now conservatives want to waggle their trigger fingers at Flynn for saying little more than nearly everybody else to whom the AG's memo was directed will say: It tells us nothing we didn't know already, clarifies nothing, and in fact only muddies the waters still further.

That is, the opposite of what it was supposed to do.

April 22, 2009

Thanks for clarifying

Like I said:
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said Van Hollen's memorandum changes very little for prosecutors.
And that's being generous, assuming it changed anything at all.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said the memo was confusing and both he and Milwaukee Chief of Police Edward Flynn warned that open carriers of firearms should expect to find themselves subject to a forceful takedown, the "cowboys" be damned.

As Sheriff Clarke noted yesterday, when cops get a "man with a gun" call, an officer on a bicycle doesn't appear bearing a copy of the annotated Wisconsin constitution and prepared for scholarly discussion. Rather, you get surrounded by a dozen squads.

The Kenosha County Sheriff's response was only slightly more nuanced, but given Van Hollen's hypothetical of the displaced hunter "quietly tracking game" along a crowded city street with a loaded shotgun, "We’re going to order him down," said David Beth.*

The barking comes later.

* And resisting an officer is a Class A misdemeanor, DC a Class B.

Madness! Hubris! Wanking!

The homosexual lobby has been trying to force same-sex "marriage" on us precisely to attempt to force the rest of us to affirm as "good" something which is inherently evil: a relationship built on sexual misbehavior, in this case sodomy or mutual masturbation. This is what this is about.
Now you know.

April 21, 2009

J-S headline tends to provoke a disturbance

Should police give more scrutiny to those openly carrying firearms?

I don't even understand what that means.

Sean Hannity interviewing Dick Cheney

Is like Igor interviewing Dr. Frankenstein.
Some guy on teevee

That Feingold statement on Bybee

The memos offer some of the most explicit evidence yet that Mr. Bybee and others authorized torture and they suggest that grounds for impeachment can be made.
— Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI)
I'd like to hear them. I read the Constitution to mean Judge Bybee is entitled to the office he now holds "during good Behavior," and he simply wasn't holding that office during the (alleged) bad.

And I don't think the Senate gets a do-over on advice and consent.

Pat Robertson would have a better shot at impeaching David Souter on account of Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Van Hollen barks out a memorandum

The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose.
— Wis. Const. art. I, § 25

Whoever, in a public or private place, engages in violent, abusive, indecent, profane, boisterous, unreasonably loud or otherwise disorderly conduct under circumstances in which the conduct tends to cause or provoke a disturbance is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.
— Wis. Stat. § 947.01

Puzzlement may be the order of the day for the prosecutor class, following the release of Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's "educational and informational" advisory memorandum (.pdf; 5 pgs.) on open carrying.

The AG was asked by district attorneys to weigh in on the apparent tension between the State constitutional amendment* preserving the right to keep and bear arms and the disorderly conduct statute, in particular the latter's "otherwise disorderly" element, assuming the open carrying of firearms is neither profane, indecent, etc.

The memorandum issues in the wake of the case of State v. Brad Krause, discussed here earlier. Mr. Krause was gardening while pistol-packing in West Allis, for which he was charged with disorderly conduct, but the charge was dismissed (and rightly so, IMHO).

Opines Van Hollen:
For example, a hunter openly carrying a rifle or shotgun on his property during hunting season while quietly tracking game should not face a disorderly conduct charge.
So far, so self-evident.
But if the same hunter carries the same rifle or shotgun through a crowded street while barking at a passerby, the conduct may lose its constitutional protection.
I'm not a hunter, but I'm envisioning the "carrying" here in the act of "tracking game" as being poised, cocked, and ready to discharge.

The only differences between Van Hollen's scenarios are their locales, and the "barking."

My Concise OED tells me "barking" means making "a sound resembling this [sharp, explosive] cry ... of a dog, fox, etc." Again, not being a hunter, I don't know whether such cries are intended to attract or repel those creatures or any other potential quarry.

What to make of this? A hunter may carry a loaded shotgun through a crowded street, as long as he doesn't "bark" at passersby? That is, he may speak or even cry, so long as his cries are not sharp or explosive? Or both sharp and explosive?

Or is it the crowded street that arguably negates the constitutional protection, notwithstanding the accompanying cries? And what human population density per square yard constitutes "crowded"?

Van Hollen continues:
The same concepts should apply to handguns. The state constitutional right to bear arms extends to openly carrying a handgun for lawful purposes. . . . If, however, a person brandishes a handgun in public, the conduct may lose its constitutional protection.
Now I'm lost. Perhaps the concept has remained the same, but the facts are altered dramatically for more easily portable weaponry.

"Brandish" means "wave or flourish as a threat or in display," the least disorderly of which would be "flourishing in display."

And display, obviously, is synonymous with open carry.

To flourish is to make an ostentatious gesture, the determination of which ostentation, I suspect, could be wildly subjective given, for example, the hot pink Glock 19 pictured above, which is practically an ostentatious gesture in and of itself.

So a Wisconsinite may, with impunity, stiff-arm a cocked and loaded (but non-ostentatious) handgun up and down Water St. of a Friday evening so long as she doesn't "bark" at the other pedestrians?

I doubt it, as such conduct would tend inexorably to a disturbance.

Ultimately, Van Hollen's answer to the question as to when law enforcement may seek a disorderly conduct charge against an open carrier of a firearm is: 'It depends upon the totality of the circumstances.' But they probably already knew that.

Just as they already knew that open carrying per se is constitutionally protected, because the only direct statutory restriction on the constitutional right has to do with concealed carrying, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court [see link**] has already determined that the concealed carry statute doesn't offend the State constitution.

So it's unclear how exactly Van Hollen has clarified the discussion. Indeed, he may have succeeded only in further unclarifying it.

In any event, open carry advocates appear to be pleased. One of them told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that open carriers aren't out to cause a disturbance, but rather to make a political point, "just like a same sex couple going out of their way to hold hands in public."

Except I don't believe that people have to go quite as far out of their way to hold hands in public*** as does a hunter in carrying a cocked and loaded rifle along a crowded downtown thoroughfare.

In the meantime, be sure to keep an eye out for those tightlipped urban sportspersons brandishing political statements.

* The Second Amendment doesn't apply to Wisconsin. Yet.
** Its application to particular circumstances is another matter.
*** Okay, so that guy had to go all the way to Caracas Riyadh.

Iggy Pop is 62

Turn Blue

Like Glenn Grothman with a job

Our friend Mike Mathias returns to blogging with this entertaining preview of the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary "cage match."

On teh web: Grothman, WTF?

April 20, 2009

McIlheran approves negative eugenics

But only for "radical" liberals, of course.

Funny how McIlheran is oh-so-concerned about future generations' responsibility for illusory economic constructs like "national debt" and "trade deficits," yet is continually mocking environmentalists.

Gays withdraw equal protection claims

F.U. Dicker* reports exclusively:

New Yorkers settle for 33.3% of Giuliani marriages

* I remember him from National Lampoon High School.

Crazy uncle descends from attic

"Somebody whose sexual orientation is somewhat in question."

Pat Robertson can lift 950 lbs. with each sphincter.

Impeach Bybee

So The New York Times editorial board believes Jay S. Bybee, former torture memo author and currently a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judge, should be impeached. A number of famous "bloggers" are voicing their support for the initiative, but I doubt its efficacy.

Because the U.S. Constitution says federal judges "shall hold their Offices during good Behavior," so as long as Judge Bybee hasn't authored any torture memos since March 21, 2003, he should be cool.

Presidents, on the other hand, may be impeached for teabagging.

Former AG news

Did you know former United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is currently a Faux News commentator? Yes, he turned up on Geraldo At Large* last night, commentating about something or other.

I didn't stick around long enough for details, as JVM was in with a breaking Tot Mom development on Nancy Grace.

But this is the most dramatic former attorney general news item since Joe the Plumber revealed that Ed Meese makes him horny.

* Rhymes with Charles In Charge.

John Paul Stevens is 89

Unfavorable opinions about homosexuals "have ancient roots." Like equally atavistic opinions about certain racial groups, those roots have been nourished by sectarian doctrine. ("Habit, rather than analysis, makes it seem acceptable and natural to distinguish between male and female, alien and citizen, legitimate and illegitimate; for too much of our history there was the same inertia in distinguishing between black and white.") Over the years, however, interaction with real people, rather than mere adherence to traditional ways of thinking about members of unfamiliar classes, have modified those opinions. A few examples: The American Psychiatric Association's and the American Psychological Association's removal of "homosexuality" from their lists of mental disorders; a move toward greater understanding within some religious communities; Justice Blackmun’s classic opinion in Bowers; Georgia’s invalidation of the statute upheld in Bowers; and New Jersey’s enactment of the provision at issue in this case. Indeed, the past month alone has witnessed some remarkable changes in attitudes about homosexuals.

That such prejudices are still prevalent and that they have caused serious and tangible harm to countless members of the class New Jersey seeks to protect are established matters of fact that neither the Boy Scouts nor the Court disputes. That harm can only be aggravated by the creation of a constitutional shield for a policy that is itself the product of a habitual way of thinking about strangers. As Justice Brandeis so wisely advised, "we must be ever on our guard, lest we erect our prejudices into legal principles."

If we would guide by the light of reason, we must let our minds be bold. Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U.S. 640, 699 (2000) (Stevens, J., dissenting).

April 19, 2009

Hinderaker's scholarship

Speaking of John "Power Line" Hinderaker, a go-to guy for local conservative scofflaws like the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Patrick McIlheran and his voluble doppelgänger Charlie Sykes, here's an example of Hinderaker's legal scholarship.

Back in 2006, there was an uproar over the decision of a federal district judge in Michigan in a case called ACLU v. NSA. The judge, Anna Diggs Taylor, declared the Bush administration's program of warrantless wiretapping unconstitutional on various grounds.

(The decision was vacated the following year by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which found that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue, following which the U.S. Supreme Court declined to entertain the ACLU's appeal from the Sixth Circuit.)

At the time, some wag directed me to the "informed commentary" of Hinderaker, a Minnesota attorney with an unseemly personal passion for George W. Bush.

In his discussion of ACLU v. NSA, Hinderaker invoked a 1967 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, Katz v. United States. Of Katz, Hinderaker claimed:
The Court specifically noted, however, that its decision did not apply to situations involving national security: "Whether safeguards other than prior authorization by a magistrate would satisfy the Fourth Amendment in a situation involving the national security is a question not presented by this case."
Hinderaker presumably mentioned Katz to suggest that because "the Court" specifically exempted its central holding(s) from situations involving national security, that it's invalid precedent for those seeking to apply it against potential violations of the Fourth Amendment by the president for alleged purposes of "national security."

A cursory inspection of Hinderaker's claim unravels it pretty quickly. When one comes across a reference to "the Court," as in, "the Court held," or "the Court noted," it means that a majority of the Supreme Court signed onto such and such a statement.

Otherwise, it's false to ascribe to "the Court" any proposition which fewer than five Justices endorse.

Katz is a splintered decision; it contains five separate opinions. When this occurs, you have to be very careful in sorting through which Justice said what about which.

Take a look at this dog's breakfast to see what I mean.

The statement Hinderaker ascribes to "the Court" appears in a footnote to the main opinion, which was written by Justice Stewart. Justices White, Fortas, and Chief Justice Warren signed onto Stewart's opinion in full. That makes four Justices endorsing the footnote's proposition.

Justice White wrote a concurring opinion in which he expanded to some degree on the footnote. This led Justice Douglas, joined by Justice Brennan, to write a separate concurring opinion specifically objecting to White's picking up and running with the footnote.

That is, they disagree that Katz's central holding provides the exemption Hinderaker claims it does.

Justice Black wrote a dissenting opinion, and Justice Marshall did not participate in Katz. So thus far we have four Justices endorsing the footnote, and four Justices not endorsing the footnote. That leaves Justice Harlan.

Justice Harlan wrote his own concurring opinion, in which he unequivocally points out which components of the main opinion to which he subscribes:
I join the opinion of the Court, which I read to hold only (a) that an enclosed telephone booth is an area where, like a home, and unlike a field, a person has a constitutionally protected reasonable expectation of privacy; (b) that electronic as well as physical intrusion into a place that is in this sense private may constitute a violation of the Fourth Amendment; and (c) that the invasion of a constitutionally protected area by federal authorities is, as the Court has long held, presumptively unreasonable in the absence of a search warrant.
Note Justice Harlan's use of the word "only." And so much for "Power Line" Hinderaker's assertion. "The Court" did not make the statement he claims it made, so Hinderaker is just flat wrong.

Katz v. United States is an important decision because, for one thing, it established the Fourth Amendment's "reasonable expectation of privacy" test, and there is indeed much "informed commentary" on Katz in both the primary and secondary legal literature.

Hinderaker's certainly isn't amongst it.

April 18, 2009

Quote of the day, torture edition

I find much to agree with in the [torture] memos and little, if anything, with which I disagree from a legal standpoint.
Yes, like borrowing a legal definition of "good faith belief" from a civil case (since vacated by the 4th Circuit) arising from a real estate dispute to apply to a federal criminal statute prohibiting torture.

Hard to take issue with that practice.

Algunos tomates para su Quesosphere

I found this blog the other day and added it to my "blogroll" because it turned out mine was on hers, so I'm grateful and flattered by that.

Do check it oot, it's pretty comical: Five Tomatoes to Freedom.

Although I confess I haven't the foggiest idea what that means.
I sadly did not get a picture of the most hoo-ha showing girl because this blog is rated R, not NC-17.
Which reminds me.

I was reading Tim Cuprisin's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel column a couple of months ago when I came across this (so to speak):
It's the template for a Coulter book launch to have some sort of accompanying hoo-hah.
Naturally, that implicates all manner of mischief, but I wasn't sure whether Mr. Cuprisin was keeping up with the kids' slang these days, so I left it alone. He probably only meant "fuss" or "disturbance."

Fortunately permission arrived via The Onion, so there you go.

U.S. seeks to deport Christ

Patrick J. Buchanan waxes a wee bit hyperbolic in his defense of accused Nazi concentration camp guard John Demjanjuk:
He is to serve as the sacrificial lamb whose blood washes away the stain of Germany's sins. . . . It is the same satanic brew* of hate and revenge that drove another innocent Man [sic] up Calvary that first Good Friday 2,000 years ago.
And the American Spectator's Philip Klein is none too impressed.

* Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
— John 8:44

April 17, 2009

No wonder lawyers drive people crazy

And themselves, occasionally.

Marquette law professor Andrea Schneider posts a lighthearted "Ten Commandments (of Billing)" and asks if there are more Commandments anybody can think of. Even I thought of one.

Then a bunch of lawyers turn up and start to wondering: Where they're contractually obligated (presumably — they don't say) to bill in 15-minute increments and spend 25 minutes (.41666667 hours) working on a case, what to do?

Do you round down to .25 hours or up to .5 hours? (Granted, the difference is a hundred bucks if you're blessed enough to be charging $400/hr. It's bus fare and a 10 oz. jar of Gia Russa Sweet Peppers Bruschetta Topping* when you're charging 40.00.)

But, seriously. Round it down and get on with your life. Y'all just burned three whole Benjamins agonizing over it.

Rounding it up means you're billing for more time than you've expended, and you can't just go and do that without the client's permission. If you want to maintain a clear conscience, at least.

Or else take an hour to draft a letter containing an amendment to the billing increments provision of the contract and charge that $400 to the client as well. There you go, done deal. Problem solved.

I could tell some tales about my billings when I was a construction manager — e.g., charging a secretary out as an electrician superintendent — but I don't think the statute of limitations has run.

* That's good stuff, by the way. Get it at the Metrosexual Mart.

An addendum to the Harper's Index

Number of times Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce ran a teevee ad decrying the lone dissent in State v. Jensen: 3,069.

Number of times WMC ran a teevee ad decrying Justice Antonin Scalia & Co.'s majority opinion in Giles v. California: Zero.

A Gaysreal, if you will

There's a giant gay storm gathering ...

Der Vogelfänger

While we're at it, because The Magic Flute contains so much memorable music (and this aria Papageno's subject flute):

Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja* — Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (I think)

* The bird-catcher, that's me.

Königin der Nacht

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's most excellent classical music writer Tom Strini has a nifty YouTube compilation of eleven sopranos performing a bit of a Mozart aria, in advance of the Florentine Opera's production of Die Zauberflöte this weekend.

Actually there are two equally impressive Queen of the Night arias in Mozart's opera (which, some would argue, isn't strictly speaking an opera but a Singspiel, as it contains a lot of spoken dialog).

Here's the other one:

Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen* — Maria Callas

* My heart is seething with hellish vengeance.

April 16, 2009

If I were a teabagger

Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum ...

I'd have been out protesting Sen. Hillary Clinton's facially unconstitutional appointment to Obama's cabinet.

What ever happened to that?

Probably because nobody wanted to try and spell "Emoluments" on a placard, given prior difficulties with "Muslim," "moron," and "fascist."

Esenberg rigs the jury

Gableman made every reasonable effort to ensure that the Ad was accurate by being familiar with the arguments advanced by Butler.The Honorable Respondent, paraphrased
Here's a somewhat entertaining "hypothetical" from Marquette law professor Rick Esenberg this morning. He's wondering whether "the state should sanction people for election communications."

One of the two examples he places on offer is a portion of then-candidate Judge Michael Gableman's famous teevee ad. But the appropriate question presented by Gableman's shenanigans is not the one posed by Esenberg, but rather whether the judiciary may promulgate and enforce ethical guidelines for its membership.

Of course it may, and does.

Even Gableman dropped his anticipated constitutional challenge to the rule (and the Wisconsin statute) he stands accused of violating.

Perhaps fearing the obviously affirmative answer to the proper question, Esenberg poses the broader query, and then compares Gableman's handiwork with some third-party gay marriage robocall.

The comparison is not only inapt but pointless. Michael Gableman, a judge, was operating under a separate set of constraints, for a separate set of individuals: judges, running for judgeships. There exist no such constraints upon third-party citizens' groups.

Esenberg is asking a different question, so of course he'll get a different answer, which ignores the particulars of Gableman's pickle while at the same time holding Gableman forth as an example.

More interestingly, Prof. Esenberg once again takes up his cudgels as a Mike Gableman amicus by insisting of the teevee ad under consideration, "Each sentence, taken individually, is true."

Except they aren't.

Butler didn't find a loophole, the State of Wisconsin found a loophole. And even if a loophole was found by the defense, it was found not on appeal but by a different lawyer at trial, who raised and preserved his objections based on the plain text of the law, which forbids the introduction of a sexual assault victim's past sexual history.

Prof. Esenberg conveniently sidesteps this predicament by pronouncing loophole "a meaningless term when used by the right with respect to criminal law."

He has got to be kidding.*

This is the same Rick Esenberg who lent Marquette Law School's considerable prestige to his fellow travelers at Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which outfit went on to produce not just one but two television ads playing almost exclusively on the said "meaningless" term, in precisely that criminal law context.

And the argument (WMC called it a loophole, that meaningless expression whose meaning appears miraculously on page 954 of the industry bible, 7th ed.) in the particular dissent of Justice Butler's those ads were exploiting was later affirmed by none other than Justice Antonin Scalia & Co. of the United States Supreme Court.

Meanwhile Prof. Esenberg was diligently defending some of the sloppiest, most vindictive, and borderline libelous "opposition research" produced during the entire election campaign.

Sometimes it's difficult to take him seriously.

However, to answer his question: Yes, Prof. Esenberg's aforementioned labors should be protected against state sanction.

* Moreover, how in this world can an English sentence be "true" (or false) if its very object is "meaningless"? Bueller? Wittgenstein?

April 15, 2009

Speaking of pirates and Ron Paul

Barrett's PrivateersStan Rogers

Teabagger says a mouthful

Reporter: What is this supposed to mean?
Teabagger: Well, I mean he's a fascist.
Reporter: Why do you say he's a fascist?
Teabagger: He is a fascist.
Reporter: Do you realize how offensive that is?
Teabagger: I think he's a fascist.
Reporter: Why?
Teabagger: Because he is. He's a fascist.
Reporter: Okaaay.

Also, pirates.


Loophole Gableman, Parte the Seconde

While we wait for the Wisconsin Judicial Commission to schedule Michael Gableman's hearing before a three-judge panel in Waukesha County, we can have another look at Gableman's legal defense against his alleged violation of Wis. Stat. § 757.81(4)(a), willful judicial misconduct.

The following is from Gableman's Responsive Statement of Facts in Case No. 2008AP2458-J,* filed with the Supreme Court on Apr. 1, in rebuttal to the Commission's Statement of Facts, of Feb. 27:
9. The underlying facts giving rise to the Commission's Complaint are these:
D. Although urged by his campaign to release the responsive ad as soon as possible, Judge Gableman insisted first upon reviewing the entire video presentation because he wanted to make sure he understood what was going on, not just what the words in the ad were.

E. After receiving the text of the ad, and the video of the ad, Judge Gableman was not pleased with the "tone" of the ad.

F. Accordingly, Judge Gableman delayed the release of the ad for a week while trying to work out possible other endings to the ad. Ultimately, however, he did not make any changes.
Gableman's response:
Justice Gableman further disputes Paragraphs 9(D), (E), and (F) because they are misleading. Those Paragraphs are misleading because they do not set forth the fact that during the time leading up to the publication of the Ad, Justice Gableman sought to and did verify the accuracy of the Ad. See supra paragraph 13(a)-(b).
This is Gableman's paragraph 13(a)-(b):
13. Justice Gableman made every reasonable effort to ensure that the Ad was accurate by:
a. Obtaining assurances from campaign staff who had drafted the text of the Ad that an appropriate investigation into accuracy of the facts set forth in the Ad had been conducted.

b. Being familiar with the Mitchell cases in general, with their facts and holdings, and the arguments advanced by Butler, who represented Mitchell.
A couple of things first: As demonstrated earlier, Gableman was pretty clearly not as "familiar" with "the arguments advanced by Butler" in the Mitchell cases as he claims, otherwise he wouldn't have utilized the expression "legal loopholes," as he continues to do in his latest court filing.

(Gableman also claims that Butler "used" the law to "harm a rape victim." Yes, he's actually saying that now. Apparently this astonishing tactic failed to occur to him during the election.)

Second, it's irresponsible for a judge to rely on "campaign staff" assurances where the judge is the one governed by Supreme Court rules concerning the ethical conduct of elections. That this claim appears as an element of Gableman's "reasonable effort" seems to be only for the purpose of attempting to apportion some of the blame for Gableman's own actions onto the heads of his subordinates.

Elsewhere (¶ 15), Gableman claims he solicited "friends to view the Ad to address his concerns about the tone of the Ad." Whether Gableman's "friends" constitute an appropriate focus group under the circumstances is a separate subject for discussion, I suppose.

Nevertheless, Gableman has yet to document their reaction, so in the meantime, what these viewing parties have to do with Gableman's legal defense is anybody's guess. Because his friends said "Go for it"?

That's certainly no absolution for responsibility either.

Now, what Gableman is saying in his response to the Commission's 9(D), (E), and (F) is that each subparagraph describes one or more points in time, but their cumulative effect is "misleading" because a description of certain intervening events is missing.

This argument should sound ironically familiar because it's the same species of argument the Commission is advancing against Gableman and the collection of individual statements he made in his teevee advertisement:
Louis Butler worked to put criminals on the street. Like Reuben Lee Mitchell, who raped an 11-year-old girl with learning disabilities. Butler found a loophole. Mitchell went on to molest another child.
That is, Michael Gableman wishes us to buy into his deployment of the argument, but not the Commission's, and furthermore in spite of the fact that Gableman's allegedly disparate collection of propositions was embedded in video production complete with, inter alia, side-by-side mugshots of R.L. Mitchell and Justice Butler, minor-tonality musical accompaniment, and bathetic narration.

As a matter of fact this is the basic thrust of Gableman's defense: That each of those four sentences are in and of themselves "true" — even though the third one, at least, is false by definition — and therefore any inferences drawn by a viewer connecting the statements are irrelevant for the purposes of interpreting the ethics provision Gableman is accused of violating.

It's exceedingly difficult to imagine anyone not making the connection so clearly intended by Gableman's teevee ad, that Butler's lawyering led directly to Mitchell's subsequent offense by "putting him on the street."

On that point, it's also worth mentioning — again — that Butler's appeal was based upon Mitchell's trial lawyer's objections to certain evidentiary (over)rulings made by the judge in the circuit court. Not to take anything away from Louis Butler, but he didn't exactly dream up the grounds for appeal out of whole cloth all by himself.

If Gableman's defense seems a little weak, that's because it is. The only thing it's missing is a deed to the Okefenokee Swamp.

I'm going to make a prediction, as it seems to me blindingly obvious that Gableman won't be able to sustain this ill-advised defense beyond his impending hearing. Gableman will end up copping to the "aspirational" (as opposed to its immediately preceding "mandatory") provision of Supreme Court Rule 60.06(3)(c):
A candidate for judicial office should not knowingly make representations that, although true, are misleading, or knowingly make statements that are likely to confuse the public with respect to the proper role of judges and lawyers in the American adversary system.
Don't forget, you heard it here first. Not that it should help him much anyway, because at least one of those representations is false.

* The WJC's next filing in the case is expected tomorrow.

April 14, 2009

Need a good teabagging?

Head for Madison.

There will be a radio "personality" relating fart jokes, burning of the evolution books, and then dumping some garbage in Lake Mendota.

Nobody knows why.

God is a Newfie chainsaw operator

Pulsar B1509-58.

Copy edit gaffe leads to lo-tech lynching

Written on whimsical stationery that looks like it would be "from the Desk of Hannah Montana," [Milwaukee County supervisor Elizabeth] Coggs went off on a lengthy ramble against [Journal-Sentinel columnist Dan] Bice, unhesitatingly bringing the Lord into the fray. Her communication is a drossy amalgam of State, Church and Race.
Michael Horne cracks me up.

It would seem rather unusual to have the legend "Member of Holy Redeemer Institutional Church of God in Christ" inscribed on what otherwise appears to be official Milwaukee County stationery.

What's the purpose of that information?

City council's Dada gesture

The Milwaukee city council, a movement of conceptual artists:
The council voted 12-2 to approve the final design of a series of installations on five light poles that will include flip signs reminiscent of old railroad station destination signs.
Except that the "final design" hasn't even been submitted yet, so none of them could know what it is they're approving.

Or not approving:
Ald. Robert Donovan said he'd be more inclined to vote for the Milwaukee art project if it were a statue of Ernie Banks.
How about Brett Favre in a Jets uniform.

April 13, 2009

Newt covers self in glory

Faux News (feat. Glenn Beck) is just pathetic.

"I hope Obama fails." — Rush Limbaugh

So do they all.

Aboot that honorary degree

So Arizona State University refuses to give the first black President of the United States an honorary degree, yet it bestowed one in 2005 on the first female Prime Minister of Canada, Kim Campbell.

While Kim Campbell is most certainly a highly accomplished Canadian woman (although she lives in Paris now [and not Paris, Ontario either] ) it might be instructive to recall how she got to be Prime Minister and especially how she failed to stay on as Prime Minister.

Campbell was first elected to Parliament in 1988 as a random backbencher from Vancouver, the only federal election she ever won. It was a safe seat formerly held by a prominent cabinet minister, Patricia Carney, who chose not to run again that year.

Although her Progressive Conservative Party had received a huge mandate in 1984, taking 211 of the House of Commons' 295 seats, four years later it was a party in precipitous decline, mostly on account of its ostentatious leader Brian Mulroney, who remains arguably the most despised personage in Canadian political history.

(But for the Black Donnellys, Paul Bernardo, and Celine Dion, likely the most despised figure in Canadian history, period.)

Still, the PCs managed to hang on to 169 seats in 1988.

By 1993, however, Brian Mulroney's popularity was in such desperate tatters that he resigned in February. Campbell ran successfully for the party leadership at its convention in June, and that's how she became Prime Minister: by electing her its leader, the Conservative Party — not the Canadian electorate — made her Prime Minister.

But the determined Canuckians would soon have their opportunity.

On October 25, 1993, Kim Campbell led her party to the worst defeat in Canadian parliamentary history, in which the Conservatives went from 169 seats to two. Two out of 295. For a comparison, consider the Republicans winning three seats in the House of Representatives.

Now that's an accomplishment, albeit not an honorary one.

And Campbell wasn't even among the two; she lost her own seat in the riding of Vancouver Centre [sic] and in so doing became the first sitting Canadian Prime Minister ever to lose to a previously unknown candidate, the Liberal (and extremely liberal) Hedy Fry.

Thus Kim Campbell, who only ever won one federal election, was Prime Minister of Canada essentially by default for all of 132 days, after which she retired from politics. And moved to France.

Yet no honorary degree for Obama, who has only visited France.

April 12, 2009

April 11, 2009

A judicial "conspiracy" over gay marriage

Julaine Appling of the Wisconsin Council on Families says it's a little conveeenient that an appellate court has asked the State Supreme Court to take up a case challenging the [same-sex marriage/civil union] ban, just days after Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson was re-elected to the bench.
The case is McConkey v. Van Hollen, and its procedural history is available here, along with a link to the court of appeals' certification to the Wisconsin Supreme Court:
The central question in this appeal is whether Article XIII, Section 13* of the Wisconsin Constitution, commonly known as the marriage amendment, was enacted in violation of the single-subject rule set forth in Article XII, Section 1** of the Wisconsin Constitution.
The District IV Court of Appeals in Madison passed that (and a related question of standing to sue) up the appellate food chain on Thursday.

The single amendment arguably contains two separate propositions, one pertaining to "marriage" and the other to "civil unions."

The reasoning behind the challenge rests on a claim that voters may have rejected gay "marriage" but left the door open for "civil unions" were they afforded the opportunity to make the distinction, except the amendment's language impermissibly conflated the two concepts.

It's a fair question.

Jack Lord only knows what "conspiracy" Julaine Appling is alleging.

Presumably it has something to do with her confidence that ex-Supreme Court candidate Randy Koschnick had already decided the question in advance (and she might have an argument there).

In any event, it's a constitutional matter. It's not a judicial referendum — or "conspiracy" — on the merits of gay marriage. The same inquiry would obtain from any similarly structured amendment to the Wisconsin constitution, regardless of its subject matter.

* Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state.

** [I]f more than one amendment be submitted, they shall be submitted in such manner that the people may vote for or against such amendments separately.

Blog comment of the day

[Obama] has shown himself to be incompentent. — Dan
h/t Cognitive Dissidence.

Dishonorable and ill-mannered

I certainly hope that people who do not identify themselves as Catholic don't assume that Archbishop Nienstedt speaks for each of the more than 750,000 Catholics who make up his flock.
I don't. Nor do I assume that Archbishop Nienstedt's opinions are supernaturally enhanced by his fancy titles and golden haberdashery.

April 10, 2009

A sedimental paean to Lincoln

More fun with illiteracy from Michael Horne.

(Tenets/tenants ... that one drives me crazy.)

Really, really cheap hotels. Forever.

The list highlights hotels to stay for under $200 a night or less.

Brian Setzer is 50

Fishnet Stockings (Play Loud)

"In this lesson, I learned that I suck." — buzbyX

Wisconsin Democratic Assembly Outrage!

There appeared an item on prominent display at WisOpinion.com yesterday asking, "Is the Recession Hitting Felons Too Hard?"

Turns out it's the latest revelation of "policy research" from the Badger State's own "free market think tank," the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (sure sounds impressively academic, don't it).

In this "think tank" discursion, a leading "policy researcher" and WPRI "fellow" Christian Schneider (taking a break from trying to expunge from the Milwaukee Public Library all copies of Harold And Kumar Go To The Americans For Prosperity Summit), reviews some draft legislation currently circulating in the State Assembly.

And he's appalled by what he discovers: An employer tax credit proposed for small businesses* which might hire certain otherwise disadvantaged individuals, including some veterans and ex-felons.

Can you believe these crazy Democrats, wonders Schneider: Not only are they offering employment preferences to ex-felons, but they're actually "lumping in" ex-felons with veterans!

This Democrat outrage, claims Schneider, is simply "social engineering" under cover of exploiting the economic recession.

However, the "policy research" ended there, evidently.

Because had he looked at the next page of the draft legislation, he'd see that the definitions for both "qualified veterans" and "qualified ex-felons" are lifted directly from the Internal Revenue Code, where he'd find that it's not just any veteran, but only those already receiving certain forms of social assistance, such as food stamps.

And if he looked a bit further, he'd notice** that those provisions of Title 26 of the United States Code were part of a little ditty called the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, which was engineered by Republicans in Republican-controlled committees in a Republican-controlled Congress (that one led by Trent Lott, Tom DeLay, Newt Gingrich and the rest of the famed Contract On America crowd).

Naturally, local medium wave bloviating dissembler Charlie Sykes applauded the "think tank" item from his "blog," but of course it's never been Sykes's function to relate the truth either.

You'd expect something with the highfalutin moniker "Wisconsin Policy Research Institute" to be otherwise, but apparently it's simply yet another outlet for hypocritical Republican partisan hackery.

* Those businesses that Republicans otherwise praise as the engines of the economy which are entitled to any tax relief they can get.

** Hope springs eternal.

April 9, 2009

And now, the punchline

[Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Reince] Priebus called it "disgusting" that the Democratic Party's ad would start on Easter Sunday.
It's airing during Charlie Sykes's teevee show. Priebus called the Democrats liars, so the ad will be a perfect fit for its placement.

But why wouldn't they run it where somebody's actually watching?

Then they asked Gableman

In an interview after losing his bid for a seat on the state Supreme Court, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Randy Koschnick said he was asked whether he would be interested in running last year but decided against it.
Asked by whom?

Wouldn't that be just slightly more newsworthy than the asking?

Gay homofascists at it again

Chris Liebenthal explains.

Needless to say, Marquette University's resident paranoia-monger figures prominently in this tale of brutal Christian persecution and Western civilization in decline. Got to admit, though, McIlheran's headline is a classic of the genre:

OK, I'll affirm you doing something that I actually think will lead to your eternal destruction. Whatever.

Because, you know, counseling mostly involves "affirming" behavior.

Even-toed ungulates locate a truffle

Dissembling medium wave radio harlequin Charlie Sykes describes Tuesday's Wisconsin election results — in which so-called "conservative" candidates were rejected pretty much across the board — as "a pile of manure," while the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's "right-wing guy" Patrick McIlheran rummages through the dump to celebrate the isolated defeat of a "loudmouth lefty" in Madison.

You keep that discourse elevated, fellas.

h/t grumps.

"No doubt this is a Christian Nation"

Hitchens v. One of these "family research" characters

Where is art. II, § 1, cl. 6 in the New Testament again?

April 8, 2009

Research assistant of the month

[T]he court never even quoted the language of Iowa’s Equal Protection Clause, showing the court’s disinterest in the actual text of the Iowa constitution. — comment, Apr. 7, 1:14 p.m.
Simply ... amazing. (Now that took judicial restraint.)

"Actual text" (for the exclusive benefit of the disinterested):

B. Legal Tests to Gauge Equal Protection. The foundational principle of equal protection is expressed in article I, section 6 of the Iowa Constitution, which provides: "All laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation; the general assembly shall not grant to any citizen or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens." See also Iowa Const. art. I, § 1 ("All men and women are, by nature, free and equal . . . ."); id. art. I, § 2 (recognizing "[a]ll political power is inherent in the people" and "[g]overnment is instituted for the protection, security, and benefit of the people"). Varnum v. Brien, No. 07-1499, slip op. at [the very, very top of page] 19 (Iowa, Apr. 3, 2009).

Emphasis in original.

Here, incidentally, is the appropriate response to "criticisms" that a State court did something not yet accomplished by a federal court:

"So What?"

Crime fighting doesn't pay

In a closely watched Milwaukee County judicial race, Fox Point lawyer [and municipal judge] J.D. Watts Tuesday narrowly defeated Daniel Gabler, a prosecutor whose aggressive campaign ads and fliers cost him early supporters and prompted a formal complaint after the primary.
Gabler produced some strange full-color fliers in advance of the February primary, including one showing him positioned sternly beside a Milwaukee County police cruiser, and another that accused his two opponents of "hav[ing] a record of defending criminals."

One of those opponents, Ronald Dague, is a colleague of Gabler's in the district attorney's office, and has been a prosecutor ever since his law school internship there. He's never "defended a criminal."

Or even represented a civil defendant.

But see:
Gabler later conceded that he [Gabler] had represented two criminal defendants earlier in his career.
Dague lodged a complaint, and a special prosecutor out of Kenosha County declined to file the charge on a theory that Milwaukee voters were better positioned to admonish Gabler than was a jury.

Turns out he was right about that, but it's not much of a remedy for Ronald Dague, who lost in the primary and wasn't on yesterday's ballot. A jury would have heard quite a bit more about the case.

Anyway, it was probably one of the fliers' photo of Daniel Gabler shaking hands with a smiling Scott Walker that did him in.