January 31, 2010

West Bend: On the issues

*UPDATE 02/01/10*

Nobody here but us leftist reactionaries

Declares David Weigand, a candidate for the Board of Education in the West Bend School District:

In a nutshell, this is what I believe:

1. Origin studies, (whether Creation or evolution) and the idea of "millions of years" does not belong in the science classroom because these are not testable, repeatable or observable; they are philosophical and accepted by faith.

2. If evolution is taught in school, students should be taught the truth about it and the scientific data surrounding it. Ideas that were once championed by evolutionists are no longer valid, much like the false science behind man-made global warming. Students deserve the truth.
"Nutshell" is kind of an unfortunate choice of words.

Announce top Wisconsin bloggers "Boots and Sabers":*
Nobody but leftist reactionaries even consider this an issue in this election.
Leftist reactionaries like David Weigand, apparently.

Mr. Weigand's policies would forbid the children from viewing any images of this object,** which is 11 million light years from Earth.

This is also why nobody should look at our Sun: not because doing so will fry your retinas to a crisp, but because the Sun is so eight minutes ago, and seeing into the past is a form of necromancy.***

* Not sure whether that was Boots or Sabers.

** Note the devious photoshop by NASA: the strings suspending the galaxy from the firmament are virtually undetectable.

*** Deut. xviii 10-11.

Eagle Forum "leftist reactionaries," says blogger

Funny stuff:
There is substantial legal precedent about the teaching of the Christian belief of creation (not going into the other beliefs of creation that Peterson ignored) that make Peterson’s entire column a massive moot point.
That's quite the massive blanket assertion. Someone has already asked for that "substantial legal precedent." Good luck finding any.

eta: Nearly 30 comments later, and not the slightest whiff of "substantial legal precedent." Does this guy seriously write a newspaper column? Come to think of it, we have Patrick McIlheran, so it wouldn't come as much of a surprise.

January 30, 2010

Lifetime Achievement Award

Tower Of Song

"Shut up," free speech advocate explained

Idea was "ridiculous ... nuts," the plainly annoyed Bopp was told

Wouldn't Bopp be more welcome among the Tea faction?

Those creationists in West Bend

[West Bend, WI school board candidates] Weigand and Marquardt have been endorsed by Common Sense Citizens of Washington County. Here’s what I want to know: how much common sense does it demonstrate to endorse candidates who publicly assert that their religious beliefs should be intruded into the school curriculum in a way that could cost the district millions in legal fees and international ridicule?
On the other hand, advertising oneself as a creationist is an appeal to a substantial portion of the electorate.* So while the prospective official may never once move against the district's science standards, professing "answers in Genesis" could be an effective springboard to officialdom, especially in conservative Washington County.

Moreover, millions in legal fees are an economic stimulus and international ridicule — while also undoubtedly entertaining — can be productive. When the Kansas State Board of Education embraced creationism in 1999, nearly the entire board was turfed out (by other Republicans) at the earliest available opportunity and the then-governor (Bill Graves, another Republican) reinforced the State's commitment to legitimate science at its public universities.

Gov. Graves was afraid tuition and research money was fleeing to the post-Enlightenment strongholds of Arkansas and Mississippi.

So one might concur with Mpeterson (and I certainly do) but at the same time extend an open invitation to "bring 'em on."

I know a few lawyers who'd be more than pleased to participate.

* How half of the citizens of the country that birthed both Edwin Hubble and his eponymous telescope believe the universe is 10,000 years old is a mystery equally profound as any existential dilemma.

McIlheran scrambles for new weekend blog topic

His intended one being thoroughly debunked.*

Russ Feingold is also reportedly polling poorly against Chester A. Arthur. Two months ago, Feingold was leading his actual challenger, the Republican real estate magnate and pumpkin farmer Terrence Wall, 47% to 32%. It's difficult to envision Mr. Wall's prospects having improved much since then, given the recent quantity of negative press and his repudiation by the local right-wing intelligentsia.

* Not that that's stopped him before.

January 29, 2010

Cut his mike!

He's letting Republicans look foolish.

Fox News would prefer you listen to Palin and Hannity talk about Obama rather than have you actually listen to Obama talk himself.

Don't you know, that's how "you decide."

One thing's for sure: No way Obama gets invited back.

You sure that's a thumb ring?

Sordid details following.

Will this be on C-SPAN or VH1?

Bring on the guilt by association fallacies

Look out, Goracle; beware, Mike Mann:
"Talk about climate change is not an ideological luxury but a reality," Mr. bin Laden was quoted as saying in a report on Al Jazeera’s English-language Web site. "All of the industrialized countries, especially the big ones, bear responsibility for the global warming crisis."
Mr. bin Laden also praised Noam Chomsky

The New York Times should defer to its sports section style guide when it comes to "Mr." bin Laden. For the definitive debunking of the guilt by association fallacy, see Daniel Barenboim conducting Wagner.

WI Democrats conspire to prohibit abstinence

That's how I'd spin it if I was a Republican.

The music was music of nightmares

The S From Hell

A hilarious (especially for persons of a certain age) Sundance Festival short (nine minutes) concerning "the scariest corporate symbol in history, built around interviews with survivors still traumatized from viewing the logo after shows like Bewitched or The Monkees."

Eric Siday is the villain of the piece (he and Satan).

January 28, 2010

More good PR for Pat Robertson

Mr. Roeder, 51, of Kansas City, Mo., told jurors that he had a growing sense of his own faith and opposition to abortion in the 1990s after watching "The 700 Club," the evangelist Pat Robertson’s television talk show. Mr. Roeder’s views on religion and abortion, he said, went "hand in hand."
Confessed shooter argues killing was justified

Apparently Mr. Roeder is a Utilitarian fundamentalist.

Whenever I've watched "The 700 Club" (or any of the others) I've just laughed at it. I like to consider that reaction far more appropriate. I would imagine a person would have to be pretty seriously religious to walk inside a church and blow a man's brains all over the floor.

Ctrl+C, Ctrl+Major Garrett

Will that be cache or credit.

January 27, 2010

GOP leader less than 79-⅞% pure Republican

Bopp's resolution would require Republican candidates to agree to at least 8 of 10 positions — on issues including abortion, immigration, same-sex marriage and health care — or face an automatic cutoff in financing and institutional support from the Republican National Committee.

Said Bopp of the Republican elected to the Senate from Massachusetts, "Scott Brown passes the test with flying colors."

Steele's eyes widened when told of Mr. Bopp's assertion. "Mr. Bopp is sort of fudging the descriptions there a little bit," he said, reflecting a view that Mr. Brown would not pass the test.
Dateline Honolulu

Voter doesn't care if Gableman ad is true or not

In defense of Michael Gableman's political campaign:
[Gableman] campaigned on a stereotype we all believe: No one likes "Slimy" defense lawyers. ... As for Reuben Lee Mitchell: It is a distasteful card to play, but facts are facts. He was released, and committed another crime. I don't know if Louis Butler's actions directly led to his release,* but he was involved.
Bizarre reasoning** is protected by the First Amendment.

* They didn't, and in fact (see, supra: "facts are facts"), "release" was never the remedy sought to begin with. The question was whether certain evidence was admissible at Reuben Lee Mitchell's trial, evidence that was barred by statute, those statutes written by the people's representatives in the Wisconsin State legislature. On appeal, a total of ten appellate judges (including a unanimous Supreme Court) agreed that the evidence was inadmissible according to the plain language of the statute. Those are the facts.

In other words, what Louis Butler was doing was following the plain language of the legislature's law, something Gableman never tired of reminding us was his own special mission in life. Given that double standard, clearly, Gableman's suggestion was that criminal defendants enjoy a different measure when it comes to having that plain language applied to them. Hence the current requests for Gableman's removal from a number of different criminal appeals.

Incredibly, Gableman's own pro hac vice lawyer, James Bopp of Terre Haute, IN, proceeded to smear Louis Butler for being the type of person who would ... er, follow the plain language of the statute.

Not to mention the United States Constitution. Lately we have been regaled with a quantity of lip service from conservative Republicans, urging the inviolate nature of constitutional rights. But when those rights come in contact with society's pariahs — to whose benefit are played out the hardest tests of those rights — the lip service is quickly abandoned in favor of political expediency and ambition.

It's those cynical manipulations which are truly offensive.

** a.k.a. undue process.

Caperton and State court recusal

A one-hour panel discussion at Georgetown Law School

The Wisconsin Supreme Court figures prominently.

Part two: Sandra Day O'Connor, critic of judicial elections.

January 26, 2010

Yes, but will he eat a rat

Right out of the G. Gordon Liddy playbook.

Tea enthusiasts recoil at enriching Palin

$560 tea ticket goes to multi-millionaire's $100K speaking fee
This tea is harvested exclusively with golden scissors and only from the top of the tree which is the tea bud. It's then sun dried and placed into closed containers to slightly heat the tea leaves so they can release the polyphenols that they contain and give a yellowish colour to the leaves and a very soft and flowery taste. The tea is then painted with 24 carat gold flakes which are considered very good for you, and give the tea a beautiful golden shimmer.

January 25, 2010

Fuel for the Gableman fire

AP via USA Today:
A racially charged television ad run by Justice Michael Gableman during his 2008 campaign "casts serious doubt" on his ability to treat black criminal defendants fairly, Wisconsin's top public defender said.

Wisconsin Public Defender Nicholas Chiarkas sent a letter to members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court last week asking them to denounce the ad run by Gableman during his successful 2008 campaign for the seat.
That oughta stir things up.

Terrence Wall's listening sessions

Some friends and I went to [Terrence Wall's] event today in order to make a silent protest against Wall's "pumpkin patch" tax loophole. We were at the rallies in Wausau, Eau Claire, and in La Crosse today, and we were either banned or kicked out of each of the events.
See, you got to scream and shout and stamp about to get listened to (and answered, contrary to the local nut-right echo-spheric bleating).

h/t Scot's Thots.

Please don't feed the Republicans

Social Darwinism is back in vogue (and about bloody time too!):
My grandmother was not a highly educated woman,* but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better.
SC's Republican Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer (who sounds awfully French) demonstrates that three generations of imbeciles are indeed enough.

Give that man a Margaret Sanger Medal.

* Read: 'I'm a chip off the old block.'

Political speech just too much trouble nowadays

As additional rules are created for regulating political speech, any speech arguably within their reach is chilled. Campaign finance regulations now impose unique and complex rules on 71 distinct entities. These entities are subject to separate rules for 33 different types of political speech. The FEC has adopted 568 pages of regulations, 1,278 pages of explanations and justifications for those regulations, and 1,771 advisory opinions since 1975. In fact, after this Court in WRTL adopted an objective "appeal to vote" test for determining whether a communication was the functional equivalent of express advocacy, the FEC adopted a two-part, 11-factor balancing test to implement WRTL's ruling.
That's nuts. I need a calculator just to multiply 71 times 33.

January 23, 2010

You go, Tony Palma of West Bend, WI

Via Mpeterson, who has been on the case:
We all owe a debt of gratitude to Ginny Maziarka and the local chapter of Eagle Forum.

Recently they circulated a questionnaire to the candidates for the West Bend School Board. One of the questions asked of the candidates was whether they would support the teaching of alternative theories such as Intelligent Design or Creationism in the science curriculum of the West Bend school system. By pointing out that Randy Marquardt, Bart Williams and Dave Weigand would support this philosophy we can plainly see that they would lead our School District into a prolonged, expensive and ultimately futile legal battle. Creationism and Intelligent Design have both previously been shown to be in violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution [citations omitted] and therefore CAN NOT be taught as science in our school system.

Eagle Forum’s questionnaire also shows us another very important thing. Democracy is a form of government that requires the participation of informed citizens. To rely on a few questions asked by an organization that one happens to agree with is a reckless recipe for disaster. It is the duty of every citizen to research the candidates that seek to fill the leadership roles in our government and choose people who are truly qualified for the job.

To that end we must elect School Board members who will base their decisions on sound judgment, reason, and adherence to legal precedence instead of emotion.

Tony Palma
West Bend
The citations in Mr. Palma's letter to the West Bend Daily News are Edwards v. Aguillard, a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down attempts to teach "creation science" alongside legitimate science in Louisiana (a recently minted Justice Scalia dissented*), and Kitzmiller v. Dover, a federal district court case from Pennsylvania, which did even more damage to the fundamental tenets of "intelligent design" creationism.

Following Kitzmiller, which was authored by a conservative Republican judge appointed by George W. Bush, one of the leaders of the "intelligent design" movement, William Dembski, produced an online animated cartoon featuring the judge making fart noises.

True story. Dembski and his posse of theology students also complained the 139-page opinion contained too much science.

(A few of the less undignified even complained about the farting.)

Dembski was at one point set to be a witness at the Kitzmiller trial, but backed out, presumably having seen the writing on the wall and not wishing to be among the other rapscallions who were eviscerated by the expert cross-examineers at Pepper Hamilton LLP.

The costly, fruitless** lawsuit is one good reason for public schools to avoid teaching religion in their biology classes. The Eagle Forum-ites might think of it as a species (or "kind") of self-imposed tort reform.

Another is even simpler and more to the point: You don't teach religion in biology class.

* Shorter Scalia, dissenting: 'Some of my best friends are creationists.'

** Fruitless to the creationist. Triumphal for the adverse party.

Ask the Brennan Center

To whom it may concern,

On January 21, 2010, Justice Michael Gableman of the Wisconsin Supreme Court made the following statement:
I note the flood of groups and organizations who have an interest in doing away with an elected judiciary and I see this letter dated January 21 from Brennan Center For Justice and Justice At Stake, two organizations who I believe have a mission to eliminate the citizens' rights to vote for judges. And I think it's entirely legitimate — not [only] legitimate, I think it's essential that we wonder who it is that's supporting different positions and if these groups are proposing changes which have as their real mission to do away with the citizens' rights to vote for their judges, then we at this table must be gravely concerned.
Is it true that the Brennan Center For Justice's mission is "to eliminate the citizens' rights to vote for judges" in Wisconsin?

Thanks in advance.

Operation Codpiece

Junior Alyssa Barczak said grinding "is the way that we (students) dance. This is not just a Menomonee Falls dance style."

She described a nonexcessive grinding as a boy standing behind a girl with full body contact. His hands are at her waist and they rock back and forth, she said.
Grinding at school dances raises ... eyebrows

January 22, 2010

That will pay for about three lunches

The new J.F. Crow Institute for the Study of Evolution at the University of Wisconsin will bring together 70 faculty members who study evolution in seven different schools and colleges.

While other universities have a department or graduate program for evolutionary biology, at UW-Madison, such scientists are scattered across campus, said David Baum, a botany professor.

The institute will have a starting budget of roughly $7,000.
Among the 70 is Elliot Sober, the estimable philosopher of science.

Meanwhile Mpeterson smokes out the creationist aspirants to the West Bend school board. West Bend (of kitchen appliance fame) is the seat at Washington County, one of the State's most conservative.

The candidate questionnaire* went a little something like this:
What is your position relative to teaching alternate theories of origins such as Intelligent Design and Creationism as an alternative, or in addition to, the the theory of evolution to students in science classrooms? (Choose: Favor/Against)
Two are in favor, one against, two abstentions, and three nolo respondos. One abstainer adds parenthetically, "I would be FOR teaching the TRUTH about evolution."

Not sure which side that one's on. But if Wacked Out West Bend's summing up is any indication, from Mr. Dave Weigand's TRUTH there wafts a fragrant pong of the familiarly suspicious.

So mark that 60% of respondents in "favor." Chilling.

* Courtesy the jokers at Eagle Forum.

Top blogger

I've seen a number of over-the-top negative reactions to yesterday's U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC,* but this one is surely the daftest:
I know readers are befuddled by my relative silence on this. It strikes me as an extreme interpretation of the First Amendment, as extreme as this court's interpretation of the Second Amendment.
I'm not a top blogger like Andrew Sullivan, but I don't find particularly "extreme" the Court's deciding that an individual's right to self-defense in her own home within the District of Columbia to be a more compelling concern than was D.C.'s power to prohibit ownership of arguably the most effective instrument of self-defense.**

Continued relative silence may have been the more prudent course.

* Although I'm impressed by bloggers who can digest and pronounce upon 175 pages worth of Supreme Court opinions in an especially complex area of law within the space of about 17.5 minutes.

** The trouble with the majority's opinion in D.C. v. Heller is that Scalia was holding the Bill of Rights upside down when he wrote it:

The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed, a well regulated Militia [among other things, such as personal self-defense] being necessary to the security of a free State [sic].

Money money quote

I think it would be very interesting to hear how accepting over $4,000, $4,500 from a lawyer representing a litigant in a case which is pending before him, is somehow appropriate in the eyes of my opponent, and how that does not raise legitimate concerns.

We don't only have to think about the letter of the law. We have to think about the appearance, and the appearance of how things would appear to reasonable people. And I think reasonable people would look at $4,500 from a lawyer who's representing a litigant in a case that a justice is currently taking under advisement, would be a matter of some concern.
— Michael Gableman, 03/28/08

Yet under ethics rules adopted yesterday by Michael Gableman and three of his colleagues on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the foregoing situation would be a matter of no legitimate concern, even if the judge personally solicited the contribution from not just a lawyer representing a litigant, but from the litigant herself.

And when Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson raised that very question of public perception of a judge becoming involved in such a situation as Gableman had expressed such concern over in March 2008, Justice David Prosser, the author of the revised rules and commentary, irritatedly responded: "Don't say that. Don't get me started."

Yesterday Gableman pooh-poohed the suggestion that a prima facie assumption exists that a judge's ability to remain impartial is affected by political contributions. That may be. Nevertheless, public perception of the court's business is not quite at its highest ebb when a judicial candidate says one thing to gain the office and then directly repudiates himself at the earliest available opportunity.

Whether the alleged First Amendment right to cast a vote for a State judge — a claim that is at the heart of the defense of these new rules on judicial recusal — is thwarted at that point is anybody's guess:
Hey, I voted for that one "matter of legitimate concern" campaign contribution guy! What the heck happened to him?
h/t Appleton (WI) Post-Crescent

January 21, 2010

Have been since 1886

Corporations are PEOPLE?!

Persons, to be precise. Also, money is speech. Those are the
axioms. So the persons may only speak as loud as they are able.

Tea baggin' with P. McIlheran

Franksville, WI, 01/16/10:

The signs, as always, were a highlightP. McIlheran

If I recall correctly, the first Hussein went down through a trapdoor with a rope around his neck. The other referenced Hussein is the President of the United States. Some "highlight," eh? High-larious.

Good to have the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's star political columnist's endorsement.

What did I tell ya

Sounds like a case of assisted kleptomania
Mental plea in Koss case likely

There ought to be a law
Against you comin' around
You should be made
To wear earphones

January 20, 2010

Headline of the day

Brown Wins Mass. Race, Giving GOP 41-59 Majority in the Senate

Roy Edroso [followed by a train of comically irony-deficient commenters "correcting" Mr. Edroso's sardonic ingenuity]
And let me say this, with respect to those who wish to harm us, I believe that our Constitution and laws exist to protect this nation — they do not grant rights and privileges to enemies in wartime. In dealing with terrorists, our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them, not lawyers to defend them.
Then Senator Brown's first order of business should be either to draft a formal declaration of War or else repeal the Sixth Amendment. Because terrorism, at present, is a federal crime.

Even if the so-called underwear bomber were adjudged an "enemy combatant" and placed within the military justice system, he would still be entitled to the Assistance of Counsel (although it's not clear to me how the son — albeit an apparently estranged one — of reportedly one of the richest men in Africa gets to be found indigent by a federal court).

It may be that the Framers hadn't contemplated — indeed, were historically situated so as to be incapable of contemplating — the peculiar circumstances of international terrorism we face today which blur whatever line exists between criminal and war-like activity, but for the time being, the Constitution says what it says.

What the Framers did envision, however, was the inflammation of populist sentiment and it was to countermand the effects of that sentiment that they put in place the protections which Scott Brown complains about now.

But Brown is free not to like what he finds in the Constitution.*

* Others may not like what they don't find in the Constitution, such as forty-plus-one percent majorities for garden variety legislation.

January 19, 2010

"Everybody is under the bus."

Reports Howard Fineman, five minutes after the MA polls close.

John King: Doug Flutie is a pretty good drummer.
John "J.D." Roberts: He also played for my Toronto Argonauts.

Sean Hannity: Americans don't want health care.

WPRI "hides the decline"

I've just completed George's voucher trick:

So this is how the "non-partisan think tank" works.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
— God's Ninth Suggestion (Beta version)
The problem is that it reflects a willingness to assume away inconvenient facts and then to construct graphs for broader public consumption that "hide" those facts and that are, taken by themselves, fundamentally dishonest.
— WPRI contributor Richard Esenberg
Sage advice, duly noted. Would that it applied to the WPRI.

Earlier: Gingrich et al engineered WI Demoncrat outrage

Sykes protégé to run for Lt. Gov.

Another self-styled angry populist occupies the field.

It's all the rage.

Terrence Wall does a reverse Dixie Chicks

The GOP Senate hopeful is ashamed of his hometown:
So lemme just tell ya for a minute about my background. I grew up in Dane County. I never say Madison ... [big yuks]
But see:
Terrence Wall grew up in greater Madison having moved to the state with his family as a young child.
Depends who he's talking to, apparently, and whether there are tea bags a-brewing in the immediate vicinity.

h/t Forward Our Motto.

January 18, 2010

E'er peccary take wing

The minute you walked in the joint
I could see you were a man of distinction ...
"This is a great topic next time Scott Walker speaks at an event for the tea party extremists or during his weekly on-air chat with Charlie Sykes," Ross said, "He can talk about how his proposed budget spending topped both that of Governor Doyle and Mayor Barrett."

On this day in intellectual property

Conan O'Brien negotiated away the rights to the masturbating bear.

Even Alfred Regnery

Even Alfred Regnery, who was once famous here for staging a fake attack on his pregnant wife in hopes it would earn him sympathy votes in his race to become Dane County district attorney, has signed a petition urging Butler's defeat.

Incredibly, the questionable attacks on Butler that helped end his Supreme Court tenure have followed him to the Republican caucus in the U.S. Senate.
There's nothing incredible about it. This is how these creeps operate. Why else would the dean of Jerry Falwell's law school in Virginia care who is sitting on a trial court at Madison, WI.

January 17, 2010

Other film directors may beg to differ

Alfred Hitchcock #1 "most overrated," says Breitblart

People learn how to make movies by watching Alfred Hitchcock.

Them that bag the tea

Live from the Tennessee State Senate:
We pray that their sacrifices are not in vain, lost to a godless and apathetic nation. For it has been declared to the world that we are no longer a Christian nation. But as Americans, we cannot turn our backs on our history for it cannot be erased.
Tickets to the Nashville tea bag jamboree are $560 a pop.
Credo says:
Wonder why Tennessee Christians practice such blatant disregard for the teachings of Christ, yet cling so reverently to the preachings of aberrant interpretations of the bible by average men?
Didn't Jesus used to complain about that also?

GOP recruits pre-teen army in Mass.

Brown spoke gravely to the adolescents about the "debt ceiling" and "unfunded mandates."
h/t folkbum.

Glenn Beck fears wrong thing

I want to have a conversation with you about things that I think about three percent of this nation is afraid of. And the rest of us get it. And that's God. — Glenn Beck, professional clown

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. — Jesus, founder of America

Speaking of which, Rick Esenberg is worried that Pat Robertson has done a bad publicity number on both political conservatives and Christianity (and their mutual entity, "conservative Christians"):
One of the central problems in theology is the matter of theodicy. If God is good and powerful, then why do bad things happen?
Theology may be a diverting parlor game, but there's an unexplained assumption here that a natural geological event is a "bad thing" and thus somehow is ascribed moral qualities. It's not clear to me that tectonic plates are moral — or even rational — actors.

A question more appropriate to the circumstances might be: If God is good and powerful, then why didn't He opt for a better engineered (or more "intelligent," if you prefer) design for this planet?

Last night on CNN* a reporter described the recovery of one young girl from the rubble as "a blessing." Elsewhere similar events are regularly deduced to be "miracles."

Meanwhile cumulative reports are beginning to indicate that the loss of life in Haiti will approach 100,000. The problem with theodicy, it seems to me, is that God gets all the credit, and none of the blame.

But I'm sure that's about the least compelling of concerns after your house collapsed, your entire family died, and you're living on a dirt road without even a drink of clean water. Why it happened is only a question that afflicts the comfortable.

* CNN and MSNBC were carrying live reports from Port-au-Prince while Fox "News" re-ran a remarkably idiotic — even for them — interview between G. Beck and S. Palin. So you had your choice of disasters.

January 15, 2010

As skewerings go

This is unbeatable.

God created sex for marriage

Mpeterson gets mail.*
And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
No mention of marriage. Only sex.

And the whale knew the creeping thing. — Genesis 1:20a

* I would take 'amoral,' in its sense of being outside the sphere of Mary Weigand's moral judgments, as a useful compliment.

Transcript of the day

THE COURT: The last marriage that I performed, Mr. Cooper, involved a groom who was ninety-five, and the bride was eighty-three. I did not demand that they prove that they intended to engage in procreative activity. Now, was I missing something?

MR. COOPER: No, your Honor, you weren't. Of course, you didn't.

THE COURT: And I might say it was a very happy relationship.

MR. COOPER: I rejoice to hear that.
— From "A Risky Proposal" by Margaret Talbot.

January 14, 2010

noun : one who bags tea

Complete list of credentialed press at the "Tea Party Nation" weekend hootenanny in Nashville next month:
Fox "News"
The Wall Street Journal
World Nut Daily
That's it. I wonder what the remaining actual news reporters at the WSJ think about being in that dismal company. Probably not much.

Ziemer patriarchy challenged

David Ziemer: My favorite TV show, "Big Love," is back on the air for a new season. . . .

At least one reader is not amused:
Once again another (usually male) armchair pundit attempts a simplistic analysis of polygamy after "learning" everything he needs to know from watching 'Big Love' as though it were a documentary.

Ziemer wants the chance to write a constitutional defense for "the nice man on the TV" with three wives but is not interested in challenging precedent set by Reynolds. That's because Reynolds is the real world of case law and such a futile challenge would require using a different body organ....a brain.
Wisconsin Law Journal*

* A pretty good paying gig, if they can afford HBO. I had to wait two years for the public library to get a copy of Deadwood, season one.

Evil powers cause loss of human self control

Animal husbandry taken too far, alleges governor
Sheep's head recalls Zimbabwean goat who frightened dogs

I lol'd

Even Ann Althouse, Rush’s biggest shill in the UW faculty, curiously leaves his most recent foray into KKK rhetoric out of her top-notch news analysis.
The Sconz's Brunch Links.

This guy will sell a lot of records

Now that he died, aged 29. He just played Milwaukee.

Jay's Cover of "Gamma Ray"

Of one of Mr. Reatard's live performances a YouTube commenter noted, "I can't hear shit but it still kicks ass. That's when you know something's good."

January 13, 2010

If Pat Robertson

If Pat Robertson can lift 2,000 pounds with his legs, shouldn't he be easier to get into Port-au-Prince than a bulldozer?

January 12, 2010

GOP Senate hopeful posts $275K in contributions

From his own self.

Cut Koschnick some slack already

Mike McCabe's Big Money Blog notes that Jefferson County circuit judge and sometime archetypal right-wing politician Randy Koschnick was for public campaign financing before he was against it:
At the press conference where Koschnick announced his candidacy back in November of 2008, he was asked directly how he felt about public financing.

Koschnick responded, "I think that's a great idea."
More recently, Koschnick filed suit in federal court alleging Wisconsin's campaign finance law is "an unconstitutional legislative scheme to use the State’s general revenue and administrative funds and to take other actions, to affect the process and ultimately the outcome between or among candidates who campaign for the Office of Justice [of the Supreme Court]."

(Whew. One sec while I catch my breath ...)

McCabe's analysis ignores the possibility that Koschnick still thinks public campaign financing is a great idea, but that the recently ratified Wisconsin Impartial Justice Act is not its appropriate vehicle.

(Mr. McCabe has championed the bill, if I'm not mistaken.)

Koschnick's complaint announces both his intent to become a candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court one more time (at least) and his intent not to accept public campaign funds in the furtherance thereof.

The thrust of Koschnick's complaint is that the Act at once unconstitutionally favors candidates who do accept public financing (not him) and unconstitutionally disfavors those who don't (him).

All of which is premised on some theory that when James Madison wrote "speech," what he was really thinking of was "money."*

So Judge Koschnick still thinks it's a great idea. It's just unpossible.

* Of course he could have been thinking of "lunch" for all we know.

January 11, 2010

Blago Like Me

"Real frustration" at how Obama is "bailing out the crooks."

Okay so not blacker but still more Elvis-y.*

* Feat. Johnny Bernero.

WJC not giving up on Gableman

On appeal from the Judicial Conduct Panel (.pdf; 30 pgs.)

Asking the Supreme Court to reverse the panel's conclusions.
I. Did the Honorable Michael J. Gableman willfully violate SCR 60.06(3)(c), Wisconsin Code of Judicial Conduct during his 2008 campaign for election to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and thereby engage in judicial misconduct pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 757.81(4)(a)?

Answered by the Judicial Conduct Panel: No.
Yes but thereby no, to be precise. It's remarkable that anybody would need to explain why one sitting judge lying about another sitting judge during a Supreme Court election is maybe not a good thing.

January 10, 2010

Who is the savviest politician in America

Hands down, it's Harold Ford, Jr.

Black, African Am., or Negro*

Elements of cynicism discovered in electoral politics
Republicans are said to be shocked, horrified, shocked
"You'll notice the president was very careful all throughout the election not to be perceived as being too black."
Boyce Watkins (CNN video)

Should Harry Reid step down? He should have stepped down ten years ago and been exiled to Trinidad, without a patois translator.

In the present instance, however, Harry Reid is arguably less blameworthy for awkwardly acknowledging a political and social reality than are those responsible for still perpetuating it.

"Post-racial," lamentably, appears to be a pie in the sky.

* Actual 2010 U.S. census question.

January 9, 2010

Gays still destroying traditional morals worldwide

Mrs. Robinson's lover Kirk McCambley, 39 years her junior[!], had received third-party cash from her that should have been disclosed to Parliament because she is a British lawmaker.

McCambley said Mrs. Robinson wanted at least 5,000 pounds [USD 8,000] in cash for herself, while text-phone messages suggested she was hoping to reclaim more funds either for herself or her evangelical Protestant church.

Before the latest scandal, Robinson condemned homosexuals as revolting and called on them to seek help from psychiatrists and Christianity [speaking of unusual bedfellows].

"Just as a murderer can be redeemed by the blood of Christ, so can a homosexual," she said then.
Where have you gone, Seamus McMaggio

And one clown who is not scary

Regnery seeks to dispel rumors of GOP chairman's clairvoyance

Earlier: Jesus gave me this job, plus the bennies are great*

* Including the abortion coverage.

One Republican who didn't lie last week

Credit where due:
Sniping at the president by Republicans, including former vice president Cheney, and by conservative radio and TV commentators, borders on — if not passing into — asinine.

The criticism has included such childishness as blasting Obama for waiting a few days before making a national speech on the incident. For heaven’s sake, the president was briefed on the incident from the moment it occurred; he made statements almost immediately indicating his concern and that he was being regularly briefed; he took time to gather the facts and meet with his national security team; and then he appeared publicly to give a rational, measured, but hard-hitting response. And for this, a former vice president criticizes him.
Georgia Republican Bob Barr, who distinguished himself by not lying.

January 8, 2010

Bopp protected from Gableman's views: FedSoc

Hard to believe the stuff these Gableman apologists dream up.

Here's something,* objecting to negative reactions to statements made by Indiana lawyer James Bopp, statements made while representing and on behalf of his client, Michael Gableman:
The first big assumption is that every word said by an attorney automatically and verbatim represents the exact personal thoughts of the client.
Nobody even remotely suggested such a thing but, anyway ...
The [Wisconsin] Rules of Professional Conduct state that an attorney’s representation of a client does not constitute an endorsement of the client's "views or activities" (SCR 20:1.2(b)).
Here's how SCR 20:1.2(b) reads:
A lawyer's representation of a client, including representation by appointment, does not constitute an endorsement of the client's political, economic, social or moral views or activities.
In other words, the rule purports to insulate the attorney from having attributed to him the client's views. For obvious reasons, such as a lawyer providing representation to a white supremacist, or to a doctor who performs abortions (as is explained in the Comments published below SCR 20:1.2(b)).

The purpose of the rule is to help ensure that even clients "whose cause is controversial or the subject of popular disapproval" may secure legal representation. Exactly opposite of what the Federalist Society's student recruiter is trying to show, which is that the client is protected from the attorney's political, etc., views. Baloney.

To be sure, SCR 20:1.2(b) protects Bopp against being ascribed the opinions of Gableman by dint of Bopp's legal representation, not the other way around. But what Wisconsin law says, as the learned counsel William Tyroler (who, to the best of my knowledge, is neither from Indiana nor on the FedSoc payroll) put it here some time ago:
"Surrogates" — client Gableman and counsel Bopp enjoy a principal-agent relationship (as do all attorneys and their clients). State v. Divanovic, 200 Wis. 2d 210, 224-25, 546 N.W.2d 501 (Ct. App. 1996) ("The attorney-client relationship is one of agent to principal, and as an agent, the attorney must act in conformity with his or her authority and instructions and is responsible to the principal if he or she violates this duty.") In a word, Bopp is Gableman's mouthpiece. We can assume that Bopp, the agent, utters words approved by and therefore attributable to Gableman, the principal.
Yet the FedSoc official soldiers on nevertheless:
In a similar way, an attorney’s unscripted response to a reporter’s question should not be treated as though it came from the mouth of the attorney’s client as an exact representation of his personal thoughts on the matter.
Nothing but hyperbole here and in any event not similar to the present situation. Moreover, Bopp made substantially identical remarks in court, on the record, in the course of directly presenting Gableman's defense to a panel of three Wisconsin appellate judges.

Live and in person.

Agent Jim Bopp's statements are reasonably understood as those of his principal, Michael Gableman. That's what the law says.

And I clearly recall a number of occasions when Gableman promised to follow the law (as opposed to following the rules, which seems to have been an endeavor more distinguished by its arbitrariness).

* Intriguing too, is the Federalist Society employee's own objection to Justice Butler's disposition toward the accused's right to present evidence in his defense at trial: Forest Shomberg is innocent.

Is it any wonder, then, that he would champion Bopp's strategeries?

Contra Krampus

West Bend blogger to blame for sin death* of whole world

* Don't ask me.

Code of judicial conduct followed

Or: Why can't that darn WMC just leave me in peace?
Q: Donald Pagel of Whitefish Bay - Where do you stand on 2nd Amendment right of citizens to own firearms? Also, would you support a law in [Wisconsin] commonly called "concealed carry law"?

A: Michael Gableman - I am prohibited from commenting by the judicial code of conduct of expressing specific positions on issues that are likely to come before the court.
No agonizing over that one (nor free speech concerns, apparently).
Q: Dean Mundy of Waukesha - Do you repudiate ads by those who are supporting your election and even your own campaign, that depict your opponent in a manner that most disinterested observers and even some supporters say is false and misleading? Why have you chosen to campaign this way?

A: Michael Gableman - I have quite clearly stated that I wish that third party groups would take their interests elsewhere to allow us to have a more positive tone in this election.
Très drôle.

POLITICS PLUS Chat, 03/21/08.

Sen. David Vitter: Still a thoroughgoing creep

Not every senator was charmed by Sotomayor. The day she broke her ankle, she kept an appointment with Senator David Vitter, a Republican from Louisiana. Vitter, Sotomayor later told a friend, was unwelcoming. As they were finishing their meeting, Vitter said, "I want to ask you—do you think if I was you, and I had made the wise-Latina comment that you made, that I would have deserved to be a Supreme Court Justice?"

Sotomayor replied, "If you had my record, yes."
From Lauren Collins's comprehensive profile of Sonia Sotomayor in the current New Yorker. Remember family values Republican David Vitter; he had an illicit relationship with Deborah Jeane Palfrey. Palfrey was found hanged in a storage shed behind her mother's mobile home, whereas David Vitter is still a United States Senator.

So he may or may not have learned something about justice.

January 7, 2010

He better not try to take Communion

Walker will bring campaign to new archbishop's fête

I like how they always say an archbishop was "installed," like millwrights setting equipment at a paper mill or something.

Good for Obama

President Barack Obama plans to resubmit Louis Butler's name as his nominee to fill a spot on the federal bench in Wisconsin’s Western District, according to an administration official.
Hang in there. It's worth it. Lying was allowed to carry the day one time already. Don't let them pull that stunt again.

h/t Brew City Brawler, who wonders, "Did [Marquette University professor of law Rick] Ese[nberg] 'note' the point or was he led by the reporter?" Or what. (Be sure to follow the Brawler's link to the Journal-Sentinel's resident expert on federalism, Patrick McIlheran).

Tonight's forecast: Dark

It's snowing in Wisconsin, reportedly.

January 6, 2010

Feingold quells the mob

At the United States Senator from Wisconsin Russ Feingold's listening session Monday in Ozaukee County, a question from the floor.

Robert: On your judicial committee that you're on, how come you supported Louis Butler as a representative on the court for southwestern Wisconsin [Western District map]? We the State of Wisconsin voted him off the bench twice [sic] and now you're putting him to a position we can't get him off of [you can, but it's hard].


Feingold: Judge Butler is a distinguished judge. He did a wonderful job in Milwaukee ...

[Hoots, catcalls, grunts, etc.]

Feingold: I understand. Now you do know, of course, that the people of this country, when we made this Constitution, which many people [here] have referred to, specifically chose not to have federal judges elected. Now why is that? They decided they wanted a different kind of judiciary that wasn't based on elections. When Louis Butler lost his seat on the Supreme Court — 51-49 — he was not repudiated. He lost to another guy. That doesn't mean he should never be a judge. That doesn't mean he should go to jail or something. The guy barely lost.

[Audience members: But he lost!]

Feingold: But that doesn't mean ... and, by the way, he won in the Western District of Wisconsin. In the area that he would be the judge for, he won.


Feingold: So I don't think that should be the rule. We had a commission rank him first among all the people that applied, so I don't think it's wrong at all.


Then somebody spotted Glenn Grothman skulking around.

January 5, 2010

Tiger: Rub Brit Hume's belly for good luck

Great Moments in Journalism with Your Host Don Imus (YouTube)
Charles McCord: I adore Brit Hume. I wanna have his children.

Don Imus: And what kind of ... the other people around the [Fox "News"] table there, the lady from Fortune and the nut from, wherever he's from, Kristol ...
Actually William Kristol, whose own sins are arguably more universal than are Tiger Woods', could barely keep from laughing out loud.

Related: Reject secularism, commands newly installed archbishop*
In our own American society we must present a clear alternative to the established secular religion which permeates our daily lives.
Secular religion = constitutional law? Sounds to me as if the archbishop is alleging a whole series of First Amendment violations. Or else fixing to commit some. The only locally established secular religion I can think of congregates this Sunday at Glendale, AZ.

* A "long parade of mostly white and elderly men." Those being the Divinely-selected Revisors of Statutes, or so they inform us.

Would that the latest installee embrace a more rigorous approach to moral inquiry than did a recent predecessor (who was reportedly among the elderly white men concelebrating yesterday's installation).

January 4, 2010

Where's Feingold

Kohl will continue support for Butler — WI State Journal

Jeff Sessions's bullshit doesn't qualify as "Advice."

I guess I read it differently

According to (of all things) the Wisconsin Law Journal:
A three-judge panel unanimously encourages the state Supreme Court to dismiss a complaint filed against Justice Michael J. Gableman by the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, concluding that a campaign ad run by Gableman’s campaign in 2008 did not violate the Code of Judicial Conduct.
But see:
[W]e conclude that the facts alleged in the complaint do not constitute a violation of SCR 60.06(3)(c) for which discipline may be imposed. — Judge Harry Snyder (emphasis added)
I write separately ... to emphasize that, although the panel recommends that the Commission’s complaint against Justice Gableman be dismissed, no one should be misled into believing that we find no fault with the advertisement in question. Justice Gableman’s counsel virtually conceded at oral argument that the advertisement is misleading because it falsely implies that Justice Butler’s representation of Reuben Mitchell caused or resulted in Mitchell’s release from prison, and it thus contravenes the "aspirational" second sentence of SCR 60.06(3)(c). — Judge David Deininger
Although I agree with the Majority’s bottomline recommendation that the supreme court should dismiss the Judicial Commission’s complaint ... I respectfully disagree with its analysis—specifically, its conclusion that the advertisement did not violate the first sentence of SCR 60.06(3)(c), which is the only provision that could subject Justice Gableman to discipline because of the advertisement. — Judge Ralph Adam Fine
That is, they all concluded that Gableman did violate the code of judicial conduct. Judges Snyder and Deininger decided that Gableman couldn't be disciplined for his violation, and Judge Fine decided that the (different) provision Gableman violated is unconstitutional.

Make no mistake: The panel did not recommend dismissal of the Wisconsin Judicial Commission's complaint because Michael Gableman was found to be innocent of the alleged violations.
Gableman's lawyer, James Bopp, described the panel's recommendation as a complete vindication, the AP reported.
Perhaps, in his troubled fantasies.

January 3, 2010

"Looks like the straw sale of a gun store"

We often rag on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel but this is some outstanding reporting:
"These guys are cagey, sophisticated [gun] dealers and they have legally thwarted every attempt ATF has made to regulate their conduct.  . . . They have a built-in escape clause. What other industry gets that kind of sweetheart deal?"
That's the district attorney speaking. All of the other local law enforcement officials interviewed for the report are at least equally skeptical and, what's more, don't mince words.

Which, I suspect, might have something to do with annoyance at federal agencies' reluctance to share potentially actionable information with the folks "on the ground," as the saying goes.

(Obama's coming to get your guns ... yeah, right.)

How in the world can somebody purchase a retail store lock, stock, and barrel while having "no idea" of the value of its inventory. That seems practically impossible and more troubling given the ATF's discovery of inventory "discrepancies" which led to the store's sale.

Hence J-S reporter John Diedrich's comparisons with the Tacoma, WA gun dealer are strikingly apt.

January 2, 2010

Ireland bans victimless crimes

While Ireland's new blasphemy provisions "have no bearing on the law of defamation or its practice," according to the Irish Times's solicitor, who approves of the Defamation Act's heightened protections of (responsible) speech and of the press, the blasphemy provisions, reasoned a Trinity College fellow, are unconstitutional.

Nevertheless, they are today the law:
Dermot Ahern, Irish Minister for Justice, introducing his blasphemy law at an Oireachtas Justice Committee meeting, 2009, and referring to comments made about him personally: "They are blasphemous." Deputy Pat Rabbitte replied: "Given the Minister's self-image, it could very well be that we are blaspheming," and Minister Ahern replied: "Deputy Rabbitte says that I am close to the baby Jesus, I am so pure." So here we have an Irish Justice Minister joking about himself being blasphemed, at a parliamentary Justice Committee discussing his own blasphemy law, that could make his own jokes illegal.

Micheal Martin, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, opposing attempts by Islamic States to make defamation of religion a crime at UN level, 2009: "We believe that the concept of defamation of religion is not consistent with the promotion and protection of human rights. It can be used to justify arbitrary limitations on, or the denial of, freedom of expression. Indeed, Ireland considers that freedom of expression is a key and inherent element in the manifestation of freedom of thought and conscience and as such is complementary to freedom of religion or belief." Just months after Minister Martin made this comment, his colleague Dermot Ahern introduced Ireland’s new blasphemy law.
Björk, Jesus, Mark Twain now liable in Irish penal code

January 1, 2010

Omen for 2010

The [Pakistani] government says the hitting of soft civilian targets, as the one in Lakki Marwat, is proof that the militants are getting desperate, and know the authorities have the upper hand. Most Pakistanis will be unconvinced of that.
— BBC correspondent in Islamabad
The perpetrators deliberately and ruthlessly chose the volleyball match, rather than the meeting of armed citizenry which was taking place close nearby at that same moment. The recent series of suicide bombings is said to be in retaliation for an upsurge in U.S. remote-controlled missile attacks inside Pakistan, which have also killed a number of civilians (as well as "high value targets" like this guy*).

In October, Jane Mayer at the New Yorker had asked,

What are the risks of the CIA's covert drone program?

* And maybe a couple more.