February 26, 2010

Good for U.S. skater Johnny Weir

Press conference video via Toronto's NOW Magazine.

Toller Cranston was truly way ahead of his time.
Claude Mailhot used to be an assistant deputy minister in the Quebec Ministry of Education, Leisure, and Sport.
Très drôle.

Seriously, they get paid for that stuff?

Local right-wing think tank is a "band of prostitutes"
Ironically, it [the term "pimp"] was most likely intended as a compliment.
Knievel v. ESPN, 393 F.3d 1068 (9th Cir. 2005) (.pdf; 35 pgs.).

Terrence Wall admits he's unfit for federal office

GOP man "appalled" by his own electoral failures
"No. No. No," announces Republican, as if by rote

It's fatuous enough that pumpkin farmer Terrence Wall, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, has been denouncing Russ Feingold's honesty and integrity. Even Senator Feingold's most defiant political opponents concede him both of those qualities.

Now Terrence Wall, speaking to Milwaukee's fundamentalist Christian teevee station WVCY, is "appalled" that former State Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler has been nominated to the federal court for the Western District of Wisconsin. Appalled! I tell you.
Jim Schneider: One of the nominations that's pending before the Senate at this very moment, just passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is Louis Butler, former Supreme Court justice here in the State of Wisconsin. You're sitting on the Senate. Would you be voting to confirm Justice Butler, or not.

Terrence Wall: No. [See "No, Party of."]

Schneider: Would not meet your criteria?

Wall: No. [Ibid.]

Schneider: Twice rejected by voters here in the State of Wisconsin.

Wall: I think it's appalling to think that we would, uh, appoint a justice [sic] to the court that failed to meet the criterion that the voters want, on two occasions.
Really, because Terrence Wall — on two occasions, no less — lost popular elections, right here in Wisconsin. So according to his own reasoning, he's unqualified for the federal office he seeks. Indeed, Mr. Wall is "appalled" that his own self is even being considered.

Obviously it's a ridiculous thing for Terrence Wall to say for a number of reasons. Success in State elections is hardly any criteria to assess the qualifications of a federal judicial nominee. In fact Louis Butler has received the American Bar Association's highest rating, the same conferred on U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Furthermore within the jurisdiction covered by the Western District, Louis Butler actually won the election by more than 21,000 votes.

What's truly appalling is how Michael Gableman has been fighting tooth and nail since October, 2008 against charges he lied about a sitting Wisconsin Supreme Court justice.

[That's. Enough. Terrence. Wall. — ed.]

February 25, 2010

Terrence Wall seeks policy approval from Vatican

Some more of Republican candidate for United States Senate Terrence Wall's exclusive interview with WCVY, Milwaukee's fundamentalist Christian teevee station:
Jim Schneider: Would you be in favor of embryonic stem cell research?

Terrence Wall: No. [See supra, "No, Party of."] However, I did check with the Catholic bishop uh, office, and the representative there and talked to them at length about what is allowed, and they were talking about you can do adult stem cells and there's lots of other things you can do without doing embryonic stem cell research, and those are proven now to create solutions and embryonic stem cell research is not proven to create any solutions to cancer or any other disease.
I thought JFK put an end to that business 50 years ago.

Terrence Wall, reluctant creationist

GOP candidate pulled into debate on faith and science

And he chickened out. The Earth is billions of years old. Own it.

Is this how he intends to behave as a U.S. Senator?

No atheists in bobsleds

In Canada, we don't really have a Christian culture like you guys. In the States it's sort of cliché, I think. In Canada, they're so far away from a Christian culture that I think a lot of people find it interesting, and they ask me about it all the time.
I suppose that explains why Roman Catholic schools are fully funded by the government in the Province of Ontario but the same practice is constitutionally prohibited in the United States. Apparently a lot of people are asking the wrong person.

February 24, 2010

Terrence Wall ensnared in triple non sequitur

GOP candidate refuses to engage constituent on positron decay

Another tip o' the hat to Zach:
Caller: I heard Mr. Wall state that climate change has been going on for billions of years. This tells me that he is an evolutionist and not a creationist. Yet he claims to support the religion this nation was built upon. Is this not hypocritical of him?

Schneider: Okay, well I'll let him address that issue. [To Wall:] He's referring to your term, the use of the word "billions" when there are a number of creationists who say, well, we're closer to ten thousand years old as an Earth.

Wall: Okay, well I'm not going to get into an argument about the years, I just threw out a number. The Earth has been changing, that's the point. The Earth is changing, it's continuing to change, we're not gonna, you know, that's the fact. But God created the Earth and the universe and it's just that simple.
This guy is a hoot.

On teh web: Vostok ice core.

Terrence Wall commits heresy on Christian teevee

GOP candidate disputes inerrancy of God-breathed Scripture

Republican real estate magnate Terrence "Nucular" Wall, who would like to unseat Russ Feingold in the United States Senate, recently ventured into the studios of WVCY, Milwaukee's fundamentalist Christian teevee channel, evidently unfamiliar with local doctrine.

Mr. Wall must have flipped host Jim Schneider's wig-hat when he suggested the Earth was billions of years old:
Schneider: The president is wanting to have the Congress and Senate pass legislation* that would deal with this topic of global warming. Where do you stand on that issue?

Wall: I'm highly skeptical. The fact that they changed it from global warming to now they're calling it climate change I think is a big clue that even they don't have confidence in their argument. You know, climate change. Well, of course. You know, the climate of the Earth has been changing for billions of years. I certainly hope it continues to change. I think we'd be all in trouble if it didn't change, especially if we got stuck in winter for all our lives, y'know. So I think that I am not at all believing one cent of this whole global warming thing.
As long as Terrence Wall remains situated in one place (e.g., Madison, WI) and the Earth doesn't stop revolving around the Sun he needn't worry too much about getting stuck in winter all his life.
And God said, Let the Earth bring forth ... the pumpkin.
Genesis 1:11 (JKV)
h/t Blogging BlueTube.

* An unprecedented tricameral accomplishment.

February 23, 2010

Breakfast with Rick

Marquette University visiting assistant professor of law Rick Esenberg turns up at Point of Law, which looks like an academic roundtable, but is actually a project of the Manhattan Institute:
In both the Gableman-Butler race and a race one year earlier in which Justice Annette Ziegler was elected to the Court, independent groups spent heavily — far more than the candidates themselves. One was a business advocacy group known as Wisconsin Manufacturers Commerce [sic]. It spent somewhere around two million dollars on the race.
Conspicuously left unsaid is the fact that a portion of that two million dollars was spent on producing and distributing a video featuring none other than Rick Esenberg, reclining in a book-filled study and expounding critically on Justice Butler's alleged "activism."

The video was subsequently packaged as a featurette displayed at a series of "breakfast meetings" conducted by WMC for its fans and supporters throughout the State during the months immediately preceding the April, 2008 Supreme Court election.

Esenberg was presented as one of three featured speakers* at the breakfasts, and each breakfast celebrant received a DVD containing Esenberg's "candid remarks" in which, WMC promised the breakfasters, he "pulls no punches."

Prof. Esenberg describes his Point of Law discursion as one "reciting issues familiar to ... followers of the Wisconsin scene."

Carefully selected issues, that is. The apparent pretense that Rick Esenberg is some disinterested academic expounding on ephemeral questions of constitutional law is, frankly, a bit silly. Perhaps he'll see fit to more fully detail his participation in supporting Gableman's enterprise in his next submittal to the Manhattan Institute crowd.

For his part, Gableman remains accused of lying about a sitting Wisconsin Supreme Court justice during his political campaign.

* Another was James Buchen, whose dishonesty is documented here.

USDOJ stocked with terrorist sympathizers

A Fox News exclusive.

Local knucklehead offended

Hip musing confirms Jesus was thoroughly butch.

Earlier: Hip suckerings. Unfortunately, Charlie Sykes's Sunday morning clown show conflicts with Oxygen's Bad Girls Club.

On teh web: The Secret Gospel of Mark.

One allegedly can't be too careful

Via Jim Bouman.

February 22, 2010

RPW battling anger management issues

Scot Ross has the troubled details.*

eta: An alternate diagnosis from Cory Liebmann.

* I think RPW means Wis. Stat. § 71.83(2)(a)3.

Two really incredible, startling surprises

In law school, she was hugely involved with the Federalist Society. I remember her as a religious Christian.
Yoo helper not quite fully redacted.

Disabled children God's punishment to women

"The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance* on the subsequent children," said State Delegate and leading theologian Bob Marshall, a Republican.**
These crazies clearly deserve more political power come November.

Staunton (VA) News Leader

* It's right there in the Declaration of Independence.
** Redundant information.

And here, I was being flippant

When I suggested, "Give Cheney some credit, for at least asking some lawyers what he might be able to get away with."

As for others, not at all flippant:
[David Margolis] approvingly quotes Jack Goldsmith's testimony that it's an unsettled question whether [the USDOJ Office of Legal Counsel] should offer "neutral, independent, court-like advice" or something "more like ... an attorney's advice to a client about what you can get away with. ..." Wow. What about the president's constitutional obligation to faithfully execute the law, which OLC is supposed to help the president discharge? Whatever you think "faithful execution" means, it surely isn't "what you can get away with."
David Margolis is wrong

Tremendousness was tremendously tremendous

Something so tremendous that tremendous alone doesn't quite explain it's tremendousness.
Eddie Olczyk goes viral with bunch of happy humans.

February 21, 2010

This has been tremendously tremendous*

Figure skating is nice and all, but why in the name of Danny Gallivan didn't the NBC network carry that hockey game? Je ne comprends pas.

* Actual play-by-play announcement.

Thought for the day

It's been a long time since I stood on a stage in London. It was about 14 or 15 years ago. I was 60 years old, just a kid with a crazy dream. Since then I've taken a lot of Prozac, Paxil, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Ritalin, Focalin. I've also studied deeply in the philosophies and the religions. But cheerfulness kept breaking through. — Leonard Cohen
In My Secret Life

February 20, 2010

I have closed comments

As they only proved, once again, that the words "yoo" and "torture" in the same sentence make commenters get rather unhinged.
Orin Kerr.

Honestly, I can't get too excited about waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who, by all appearances, murdered 3,000 people and made a giant hole in Manhattan. And give Cheney some credit, for at least asking some lawyers what he might be able to get away with.

Hopeless McIlheran still tapping out a column

Also, it was a very important point about abortion, also.
Rom Houben is communicating quite well, thank you, by tapping out messages on electronic equipment. He’s writing a book about the experience.
The hopeless case who is now tapping out a book

Well, no:
Dr Steven Laureys, one of the doctors treating Houben, acknowledged that his patient could not make himself understood after all. Facilitated communication, the technique said to have made Houben's apparent contact with the outside world possible, did not work, Laureys declared.
Brain-damaged patient proved unable to communicate

This has been another installment of P. McIlheran, Man of Science.

February 19, 2010

Tea woman wants to lynch U.S. Senator

Let's go dig her a grave, I got a herd of cattle to look after.
"What happened to Jake when he ran with the wrong crowd?" Dianne Capps asked. "He got hung. And that's what I want to do with Patty Murray." The crowd erupted in laughter.
Earl Warren and Thurgood Marshall to the rescue:
"Nobody had a rope to hang Patty Murray," Capps said.
"This movement is the future of politics in America." — Sarah Palin


When I said hang, obviously I meant not vote for.

CPAC man denounces infertile couples

Human menopause irrational and unnatural, Republican claims
"Civil rights are grounded in natural rights,"* said Sorba. "Natural rights are grounded in human nature. Human nature is a rational substance in relationship. The intelligible end of the reproductive act is reproduction. Do you understand that? Lesbians ... Lesbians ... Bring it!"
What a circus.

* That affirms KSM's trial venue, in concurrence with Eric Holder.

Too soon?

Not for the CPAC comedians:
"And let me just say, I'm really happy to see Grover today," said Babbin. "He was getting a little testy in the past couple of weeks. And I was just really, really glad that it was not him identified as flying that airplane into the IRS building."

Sykes fantasizes vowels, consonants

Local medium-wave squawker Charlie Sykes proclaims that Wisconsin Democrat David Obey's House of Representatives seat is "endangered." In fact the Cook Political Report lists Obey's Seventh Congressional District in its "likely Democratic" column, which Cook's defines as "not considered competitive at this point but hav[ing] the potential to become engaged."

Not competitive = endangered, in the right-wing brain.

Those things are not in the Constitution either

Jef Hall reads the "Mount Vernon Statement."

File it along with "separation of church and state."
The document answers one question and one question only. If you agree that Barack Obama is engaged in a deliberate and relentless attack on the American constitutional order, well be assured: the conservative establishment is on your side. But if you think those worries are a hysterical distraction from the country’s actual problems? To you, the conservative world says: go away. We have nothing to offer you.
David Frum

February 18, 2010

Der Große Stüge

LIMBAUGH: Talking about the "Big Lie" — from his 1925 autobiography, Mein Kampf, the "Big Lie" was an expression coined by Hitler. And the "Big Lie" is exactly what all of liberalism is. The "Big Lie" is exactly what all of Marxism is, or socialism is, or communism is.
How many times must irony die.

Wonkette's first CPAC video

Features Jay Leno interviewing a Wisconsin blogger.

Jim DeMint brought to tears by Rubio's jingoisms

February 17, 2010

Then why didn't Leah Vukmir just deny it?

What's known in the trade as "blowing smoke":
A nonpartisan legislative attorney said the request could be denied for being too broad in scope. — Agent MacGyver
An intriguing narrative from Cory Liebmann.

"At some point, an overly broad request becomes sufficiently excessive to warrant rejection pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 19.35(1)(h)." State ex rel. Gehl v. Connors, 2007 WI App 238, ¶ 24.

Given David J. Gehl's extraordinary series of increasingly sweeping open records requests, it's difficult to conceive of Mr. Liebmann's request as having attained anything even approaching that point.

Creationists sweep vote in Town of Addison

Prayer lifted candidate to fourth-place finish

Young Earth creationist public school board candidates David Weigand and Randy Marquardt challenged incumbents Kathy Van Eerden and Lynn Corazzi in the West Bend School District yesterday, forcing a virtual four-way split in a primary election.

The creationists each garnered 21% of the votes, while the incumbents drew 22% apiece. Of the 6,389 votes cast (19% of registered voters), Van Eerden and Corazzi won 1,386 and 1,379 respectively, while Marquardt and Weigand took 1,339 and 1,326.

The remaining votes were distributed among four other candidates — two of whom had previously withdrawn from the race — and a handful of write-ins. Yesterday's poll eliminates them from the running.

The primary election result means the four will compete for two seats on the school board on April 6. The creationists' strongest showing was in the suburban towns of Trenton, Polk, Jackson, and Addison, where the creationists shared equally in all eight of the ballots cast.

But the creationists managed to prevail in only two of the City of West Bend's eight precincts. Last month, the creationists said they favored teaching "Intelligent Design and [sic] Creationism" in West Bend schools "as an alternative to, or in addition to" evolution.

Claimed a top West Bend conservative flogger, "nobody but leftist reactionaries" were concerned about a public school board candidate's evidently serious assertion that, among other things, "the idea of 'millions of years' does not belong in the science classroom."

Reports of the candidate's placing an uppermost limit of 999,999 in school district multiplication tables were unconfirmed at press time.

February 16, 2010

Skull, buttocks orientation invites suspicion

Homosexuals get agenda tips
They never thought of before
From anti-gay man, ironically
"Why sit down with 7th graders and say to some, 'You will be heterosexual, some [will be] homosexual'?," wondered Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman. "Part of that [homosexual] agenda which is left unsaid is that some of those who throw it out as an option would like it if more kids became homosexuals," Grothman added. Out loud.
And the reason this part of the homosexual agenda is "left unsaid" is exclusively because most people don't have access to the nut-right pantaloon's medulla oblongata, which is the only place it exists.

Emily Mills: Grothman trades up ass-hat points for full crown of glutes

Glenn Grothman is from West Bend, where today two creationists are on the primary election ballot vying for public school board seats.

February 15, 2010

Tomorrow's spin

Top Taliban in U.S. military custody

Conservatives: New York Times cover-up!
Liberals: Too bad it wasn't Dick Cheney.

Plumber don't owe John McCain sheeit

Decorated POW is no public servant, sez Joe the

I would have expected that for an American political conservative (and plenty of political liberals as well) enlistment was damn nigh the epitome of public service, to say nothing of getting tortured and held captive under inhuman conditions for five-and-a-half years.

McCain may be a mighty cynical politician, but on balance I reckon his obligation to prove anything to Wurzelbacher, S.J. in the public service department is long since more than adequately fulfilled.

"By the fall of 2008, the face of the Republican Party had become Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber." — Judge Richard A. Posner

"Joe the Plumber is a dumbass." — Meghan McCain

Student editors need a law dictionary

"Supreme Court Justice cleared to hear case; conflict of interest claim dismissed," according to the Badger Herald.

Not true. The "claim" in this instance was presented in the form of a written motion requesting that one justice be disqualified from hearing the merits (the substance of the legal arguments) of a criminal appeal, State v. Allen, that the motion is related to.

Motions generally end up being either granted or denied. Here, the result was neither: by effect of the 3-3 split on the court, the motion was not granted, but nor was it denied. Because the motion was not granted, the judge at whom it was directed may presumably participate in deciding the merits of State v. Allen.

The motion was certainly not dismissed.

Most importantly, to announce that this motion was "dismissed" is not only wrong, the announcement also conveys an unwarranted negative statement about the motion's own merits or worse, that the motion contained a fatal procedural defect, such as having been filed after a court-imposed or statutory deadline.

Otherwise Amelia Vorpahl's report is accurate enough,* but the headline is brutal. She needs to file a motion against her editor.

* With this exception: "Gableman was accused of lying in several of his campaign ads regarding Butler’s role in defending a sex offender." It was one individual campaign ad, which ran many times.

February 13, 2010

Grothman nostalgic for gayer, closeted times

Lawmaker could have convinced Liberace to renounce homosexuality
Wisconsin State senator Glenn Grothman's opposition to discussing and recognizing different sexual orientations in schools seems to come [from] his belief that instructors who lead these talks would have what he called an "agenda" to persuade students to become gay.
Glam rock had yet eluded the teenage Grothman:
"Did people even know what homosexuality was in high school in 1975? I don't remember any discussion about that at the time. There were a few guys who would make fun of a few effeminate boys," he said, "but that's a different thing than homosexuality."
Ah yes, that was good clean fun. Lawd a-mighty, what an ignoramus. It's precisely the intent and the goal of these proposals to mitigate exactly that sort of cruelty. Why do they keep voting for this guy?

I know seventh-graders who read The Onion. They are already millions of light years beyond Glenn Grothman's mentality.

h/t capper.

Touchéd by His noodly appendages

Appealing to the 'thousands' of other creationists out there doesn't add anything to your argument; at best, you're simply appealing to the popularity of an idea as proof of its validity. If you believe that, then you must also believe that hundreds of years ago, when people thought the world was flat, it actually was flat, and only became unflat once people started to believe it was round.
Sorry, Dr. Neeland, but you're a kook.

Good comments thread, from which the creationist quickly flees.

February 11, 2010

Who, exactly, is to blame?

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser writes:
The Allen motion ... has been followed by nine additional recusal motions against members of this court [seven of which are "against" Gableman]. The Wisconsin State Public Defender's office has invited the entire defense bar to file recusal motions against [Gableman] in criminal cases. The number and savagery of these motions is unprecedented and amounts to a frontal assault on the court. The court should have denied Allen's motion quickly, without comment. This would have avoided exposing controversy within the court.
Or, alternatively, Gableman should have anticipated the controversy that he engendered by engaging in scurrilous political subterfuge.

Savagery, indeed. Sorry, but it's mighty hard to sympathize.

That the court today divided 3-3 on Allen's motion to disqualify Gableman (who did not participate*) means the motion is neither granted nor denied.** Notably, Justice Patrick Crooks wrote separately to indicate that he was fully prepared to deny Allen's motion, thus providing a fourth and decisive vote in that direction, had it not been for Atty. James Bopp's shenanigans as Gableman's defense lawyer during and after Gableman's hearing on ethics charges in September.

So beware those nasty unintended consequences. Heckuva job, etc.

* Which may seem obvious, but according to the lead opinion, Gableman was undecided for some time over whether to participate on the more impersonal question of whether the court, as an institution, had the authority to overrule an individual judge of that court's own decision not to disqualify himself from a case.

** Rather, the motion is "not granted." Furthermore, as Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson put it: "As a practical matter, Justices Prosser, Roggensack, and Ziegler are implicitly telling all litigants in Wisconsin that they need to go to the federal courts to seek relief from a Wisconsin justice who they believe is biased."

Perhaps that's another clue as to the meaning of "Federalist Society."

Earlier: Bopp's demagoguing was completely unnecessary.

And in other news, bear defecates in wooded area

Election shocker: Republican candidate caught lying.

Lucky he's not a judge; that sort of thing is really frowned upon.

Hopey changey thing still workin' for law prof

Spinning like an anecdotal dreidel, effusive Sarah Palin apologist and professor of law Rick Esenberg rises for the defense:
Sometimes, in preparing for class, I'll write down four topics. It's not because I can't remember them or don't understand them.
Analogously thus:

Establishment Free Exercise Clause
Lift Bradley Foundation spirits
So, really, the point is not what was on her palm, but what she had to say.
Tellingly, the apologetic ends there, as there is nothing to discuss.

How dumb is Rush Limbaugh

An increase in surface air temperature causes an increase in evaporation and generally higher levels of water vapor in the atmosphere. In addition, a warmer atmosphere is capable of holding more water vapor. The excess water vapor will in turn lead to more frequent heavy precipitation when atmospheric instability is sufficient to trigger precipitation events.
Pretty dumb.

How Fox News lies

Toe-sucking Fox News contributor Dick Morris told Fox & Friends' Steve Doocy this morning that "we" (Fox News and the Republican Party are interchangeable entities — they don't bother maintaining any pretense of it being otherwise) can sweep the 2010 U.S. Senate elections in part because former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson leads the incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold by three points in some Republican poll. They even put up a chart.

Except Thompson isn't running.

February 10, 2010

First Church of Palin, Scientist

I named my daughter Willow.
Isn't that granola enough for them?
It is unclear which studies Palin was referencing.

Referencing which Drudge Report headline, they mean.

Another raving nutcase for Congress

[Obama] doesn't have any credibility since he's flip-flopping, you don't know where he stands. And John McCain actually have author campaign finance reform with Feingold, a Jew.
— Fox News "political analyst" Angela McGlowan
But of course, that's a relevant factor. If you're certifiable.


Once again proving the Framers' wisdom in limiting the House of Representatives to two-year terms: because it attracts the crazies.*

* Re, e.g., Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the United States Senate only began actively soliciting crazies on April 8, 1913.

And another: America gambles against legendary Curse of YHWH

Creationist advances secular purpose test

David Weigand: I would like to see "rationale" included in agenda items brought to/from the [West Bend school] board and/or administration. By including rationale, we can understand the reasons behind agenda items and have better discussions while working towards meeting the needs of the community.
h/t Wacked Out West Bend.

Wisconsin constitution: How courts interpret the section.

Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?

America's Republican caucus.

February 9, 2010

Recess appointments undemocratic: GOP

Shelby guaranteed a Republican form of government
Just last night, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) lifted a blanket hold he'd placed on all of the President's executive branch picks.
Emphasis in original.

Mysteriously, nobody's complaining about that sacrosanct First Amendment Right exercised by 66.8 million American voters.*

* Except as applied to judges facing recusal motions.

I can understand forgetting Nix v. Hedden

But Miranda v. Arizona?

Kit Bond is counting real hard on his listeners' credulity.

Gableman positions "incomprehensible"

This was mentioned here several weeks ago:
The Green Bay Press Gazette noted that Justice Mike Gableman criticized then-Justice Louis Butler, his opponent in the election, for accepting a $4,500 campaign contribution from a lawyer representing someone in a case before the state supreme court.

"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," Gableman said.

Yet now that Gableman is a Supreme Court Justice, his position suddenly changes and he now says no contribution, regardless of the amount, could influence a judge and cause him or her to withdraw from hearing a case involving the contributor.

It's incomprehensible that Gableman can hold such conflicting positions.
Sheboygan Press.

Actually it's perfectly in character that Gableman would say one thing during his political campaign, continue to insist on that thing during his defense to ethics charges, and then claim never to have believed any of it once he ascended the bench. And that's exactly what he did.

Much like the enduring (negative) caricature of a politician. But don't be cynical, they tell us. After all, Supreme Court justices have a constitutional right to lie, which they may exercise at any time.

Any appearances of impropriety are all in your head (even if you happen to find yourself haled before that court). They tell us.

The next written brief in Gableman's ongoing ethics investigation (now in its third year without any resolution) is due Thursday.

February 8, 2010

Theological perplexity of the day

Does God enter my burger at 155 degrees and stay there for 23 seconds?
I gather the dilemma is addressed to a Dairy Queen manager.

We don't need a professor of law

We need a president to exercise his Art. I, Sec. 8 powers.

(They already had a professor of law, name of John Yoo.)

Kids narrowly escape sensitivity training horror

Local conservatives disgusted
by efforts to improve tolerance

Wacked Out West Bend with news and commentary.

Probably the Sharpie ink

From the Dept. of Hip Musings: Palin smells good, too.
Hit 'em where it hits, Sir, I am begging you, hiply.

Only slightly more spry

Than the halftime performers. I don't know about that. Roger Daltrey sounded pretty darn good for a guy turning 66 years old next month.

Priest's laying on of hands not kosher

It was a case of 'He said, he said'
A western Wisconsin diocese and Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki are being criticized for not reporting to law enforcement sexual assault allegations against a visiting priest who was later arrested.

A 47-year-old West Salem woman told the Diocese of La Crosse in September that the Rev. Edmund Donkor-Baine allegedly touched her breasts and placed her hand on his pants over his genitals while counseling her for a divorce, according to a sheriff's department report.

Listecki wrote her a letter dated Dec. 22 stating that her complaint was the first the diocese received against the priest* and that Donkor-Baine, 47, denied the allegations.** The letter also said the diocese had not been able to conclusively determine what happened.
Chicago Tribune

We have different standards down here in the real world, where the accused is taken into custody and where the sheriff's department is capable of more thorough investigation than the diocese.
A study for the U.S. Conference of Bishops found that the La Crosse Diocese sided with priests over victims in 64% of cases, compared with the national average of just less than 10%.
At least one law enforcement official lacks confidence in Listecki.

* Interesting defense, as he'd only been there for about a year.

** Has the presumption that the clergypeople are more inclined to truthfulness than any other people been completely abandoned yet?

More creationists in West Bend

Via Mpeterson, documenting the shenanigans of Mary Weigand, whose husband David Weigand currently aspires to a public school board position in West Bend, Wisconsin:
The "What’s the Evidence?" booth began five years ago when Weigand and a friend brought a PhD Biologist to the West Bend School District hoping that with his help the district would see that they were teaching information that was not scientifically sound.
This event was mentioned here recently. The individual Weigand "brought" to West Bend was apparently David Menton of Answers In Genesis fame and wouldn't you know it: David Menton is a liar.

Albeit a liar for Jesus, which makes it alright. It's funny, because isn't Satan the one who's more commonly said to be the deceiver?

February 7, 2010

The saddest thing

Was this before or after the obligatory TelePrompter zinger:
Her hand reads, "Energy / Budget Tax Cuts / Lift American Spirits." She couldn't even remember, in the moment pre-speech with Bic in hand, that the important cuts are tax cuts, not budget cuts.
Or remember to "lift American spirits."


I reckon that hopey-changey thing is workin' out pretty well for Palin, who earned directly from her personal demon, Obama, $100K plus expenses and live national teevee for a 40 minute screech.

Zola Jesus

A major press score for this rising independent artist from Wausau, Wisconsin. Among her own favorite music:
Brethren — Hail Aids
This is a very bad song. The context of the song and the mission statement of the artist is incredibly insular and bigoted. It is hard for a lot of people to get past that when listening to Brethren. But his songs are so passionate, so intense, so brutal and raw, and you know what he’s saying he means with such conviction. It is frightening but at the same time kind of empowering that someone can make music like this. Almost like a testament to America’s freedom of speech. I don’t agree with the context of his project but I respect that he has the freedom and certitude to do this. And this song is so powerful. It’s really moving.
It takes courage to say something like that. On the other hand, we routinely praise Richard Wagner, who was viciously anti-Semitic,* although his lyrics in that regard were less overt than Brethren's.

* See esp. Nietzsche's letters to Wagner.

February 6, 2010

In major speech, Palin focuses on policy

Olbermann "resting comfortably" following stroke, says MSNBC
NRO.com hails candidate's "Shakespearean" address to the Nation

Expertise apparent in rigorous energy proposal (.pdf; 168 pgs.)

Why I do not trust the Tea Party's fiscal acumen

Button Gwinnett turned up and nobody asked for his autograph.

Tea man produces Christ's birth certificate

But I felt [World Nut Daily dot com publisher Joseph] Farah start to lose the room when he entered a long digression on how, in his view, there was more proof that Jesus Christ was born than proof that Obama was born in Hawaii.
At the 600-strong national convention, comparing apples to saviors. Only problem is there's not any proof that Obama's papers are forged or that he was born anyplace other than the U.S. And if Farah takes seriously the competing genealogies recorded on the anonymous papyri, he may very well be a young Earth creationist to boot.

Also: World Nut, Breitblart scuffle over who's the True Journalist.

Top right-wing blogger offers legal advice

Follow the logic!

Michael Mathias asks: "Is there any idiot wielding an illegal gun Owen Robinson won't defend?" Claims Robinson: "Of course, the obliterated serial number raises an eyebrow, but it isn’t illegal to scratch up your own gun and the ownership of the gun isn't in question."

Yes, it is illegal (see 18 U.S.C. §922(k)) to alter your own gun's serial number if that gun has at any time been shipped or transported in foreign or interstate commerce (likely in this case, as I don't believe there are any manufacturers of .357 caliber revolvers in Wisconsin).

Jack Lord only knows how Robinson is aware unquestionably of the firearm's ownership based on the facts presented in the Journal-Sentinel article, but ownership and possession aren't the same thing. One might very easily possess a firearm owned by another party.

Where does he imagine the concept of "theft" originated.

February 5, 2010

You know it's time to get out of politics

When a popular Google search is Scott Lee Cohen prostitute knife.

Speaking of differently-hued

One email shows that Palin coached her staff on how to disguise the amount of electrical work needed to install a tanning bed in her mansion.
Us common folk can certainly identify with that quandary.

And no, it wasn't Alex Kozinski

Judge orders surrender of Edwards sex tape

Study was skewed even before it was skewed

Then it didn't skew back, it skewed further.

Scot Ross:
At least three of the four large high schools participating in the private voucher program have pre-admission screening, allowing them to reject students, unlike public schools, which thankfully accept all students.
Where measuring achievement, it's always handy to be able to pre-select based on the stronger likelihood of that achievement.

Please welcome your Tea-note speaker

In his speech Thursday to Tea Party convention attendees, former Republican congressman Tom Tancredo invoked the loaded pre-civil rights era buzzword, saying that President Barack Obama was elected because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country."
Wonder who he had in mind.

How about a test for the differently-hued House minority leader.

Mr. Tom Tancredo should be positively thankful there's neither a civics nor literacy test for his own constituents, otherwise he would likely not have received any votes at all, ever.

Jeff Sessions is all about Wisconsin

Alabama legislator outlaws Sheepshead*
Only Abraham Lincoln lost more elections than Wisconsin judge

A few gems from the brain of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, distinguished Senator from Alabama and rank(l)ing Republican member of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

The committee yesterday once again considered the nomination of Louis Butler to the federal court for the Western District of Wisconsin and once again voted to confirm 12-7, on political party lines.

In his remarks, Jeff Sessions opined that Louis Butler's pernicious influence turned the Wisconsin Supreme Court into "perhaps the most activist federal court in America."

Item: Obviously the Wisconsin Supreme Court is not a federal court.

Jeff Sessions called Judge Diane Sykes** a "former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice and current 11th Circuit justice."

Item: Judge Sykes is on the 7th Circuit, which sits in Chicago, with jurisdiction over Wisconsin. The 11th Circuit is in Atlanta, with jurisdiction over the Okefenokee Swamp (and Jeff Sessions).

Item: The only "justices" in the federal system are the nine in Washington, D.C. All of the others are "judges."

Finally, Jeff Sessions quoted from Art. I, Sec. 25 of the Wisconsin constitution thusly: "Quote, 'the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other unlawful purpose,' closed quote."

Item: All recreational activity in Wisconsin is hereby deemed illegal.

And Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III said all of these things within the space of about three (III) minutes.

To sum up: Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee who is leading the charge of the dim brigade against Louis Butler, does not believe Butler, who has been a municipal court judge, a circuit court judge, and a State Supreme Court justice in Wisconsin for 16 years, is qualified to be a judge.***

Whereas Sessions is barely qualified to speak into a microphone.

* Excepting those players armed with a 30-aught-six.

** Why didn't Sessions mention Judge Sykes's forceful affirmation of Justice Butler's ethical integrity? Because Sessions is ultimately a political scam artist with very little knowledge of what he speaks.

*** Butler has received the American Bar Association's highest rating, the same accorded both John Roberts and the recently offended Samuel Alito, who, incidentally, was taken aback because President Obama paraphrased a couple of remarks from Justice Stevens's dissent in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

From whence the shock? Had he not read it? He must have. Because he signed on to Justice Scalia's gratuitously sarcastic concurring opinion. Those are the type of guy that Jeff Sessions loves so well.

February 4, 2010

Wingnut fallacies effortlessly predicted

Last week's prophecy didn't take long to fulfill:
Rush Limbaugh, while going through the transcript of a recently-released tape from Osama bin Laden, paused during his reading of bin Laden's remarks about climate change to ask, "Does this not sound like an average Democrat? It sounds like this could easily be Russ Feingold, the Senator from Wisconsin."
You know who else enjoyed a macrobiotic diet? Hitler, that's who. Does this not sound like an average Outpost Natural Foods shopper?

h/t WisPolitics.

West Bend: Fix what godless Bush judge broke

I support creationism being taught in the classroom, however, I don't want to stop there. I'd like to see alchemy taught alongside the theory of "chemistry," astrology alongside "astronomy," magic alongside "physics" and phrenology alongside "neurology."
Via Mpeterson.

The federal court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, where West Bend is located, is not required to follow Kitzmiller v. Dover, which came out of the Middle District of Pennsylvania. But it does contain a persuasively substantial record of "intelligent design" creationism's vacuity and the deliberate ignorance of its proponents.

On the other hand, in the (highly unlikely) event a federal court in Wisconsin found contrary to Kitzmiller, the conflict might provide the impetus to put "intelligent design" before the U.S. Supreme Court.

See also: West Bend creationists ran amok in '82
The film that started it all shows several geologists testifying that [human] footprints had been found in the same piece of stone in Texas' Biloxi River as dinosaur prints, a discovery that would change the generally accepted picture of man's beginnings.
That old Milwaukee Journal item, by the way, is a typical example of a reporter placing ludicrous creationist assertions alongside scientific evidence as if both are equally legitimate and valid. They aren't.

eta: Zealots on the Left:
Kids should know that there are alternate theories out there if they are to have a well rounded education. But I don't think it's appropriate for teachers to drill down on any particular creationist theory.
The author appears to be desperately unfamiliar with the issues. Science is neither a partisan pursuit nor is there any such thing, by definition, as a "creationist theory." And accusing one of zeal for her defense of evidence and reason is not a particularly effective insult. But, yeah, kids should know there are dissembling crazies out there.

As should voters. And let's not forget who brought this whole deal up in the first place: The Eagle Forum, not exactly "zealots on the Left."

February 3, 2010

Receding glaciers linked to Inhofe's brain fever

Michael Mann cleared of ... everything
A second panel will convene to determine whether Mann's behavior undermined public faith in the science of climate change, the university said Wednesday.
An affirmative answer is all but assured, with the caveat, one hopes, that public "faith" can be fully based in circumstances entirely divorced from the behavior of Prof. Mann (e.g., The Glenn Beck Conspiracy Hour). Which may provide reason enough for climate denialists to crow, but says nothing of the science. It was the other allegations which spoke to the science and the methodologies of science and Mann was exonerated completely on those accounts.

It's practically impossible to believe that James Inhofe is actually a United States Senator, because I'm certain he'd just get laughed out of the Newfoundland knesset.

Good news for Sheboygan

Meanwhile, kinky porn actress Joslyn James reportedly is upset that the Canadian golf ball manufacturer, Creative Classics, included her in their "Mistress Collection."*
Woods emerges from sex rehab
2010 PGA Championship

* A close-up of the balls.

Liberal Fascism explained

The close ideological resemblance between modern American progressives and the Nazi regime is positively uncanny:
On the morning of 6 May 1933, a group of vans pulled up outside Dr Magnus Hirschfeld's Institute of Sexual Science in the smart Tiergarten district of Berlin. Out of them leapt students from the Berlin School for Physical Education, members of the National Socialist German Students' League. They drew up in military formation, then, while some of them took out their trumpets and tubas and started to play patriotic music, the others marched into the building. Their intentions were clearly unfriendly. Hirschfeld's Institute was well known in Berlin, not only for its championing of causes such as the legalization of homosexuality and abortion, and for its popular evening classes in sexual education, but also for its comprehensive collection of books and manuscripts on sexual topics, built up by the director since before the turn of the century. ... The Nazi students who stormed into the Institute on 6 May 1933 proceeded to pour red ink over books and manuscripts, played football with framed photographs, leaving the floor covered in shards of broken glass, and ransacked the cupboards and drawers, throwing their contents onto the floor. Four days later, more vans arrived, this time with stormtroopers carrying baskets, into which they piled as many books and manuscripts as they could and took them out onto the Opera Square. Here they stacked them up in a gigantic heap and set light to them. About 10,000 books are said to have been consumed in the conflagration. ... Told that the 65-year-old Hirschfeld was abroad recovering from an illness, the stormtroopers said: 'Then hopefully he'll snuff it without us; then we won't need to string him up or beat him to death.'
— Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich, pp. 375-76

February 2, 2010

Frank Luntz has his way with words

Ordinarily, calling for a new government program "to protect consumers" would be extraordinary popular.
Can you think of some words to describe Frank Luntz?

And can someone explain to me why anyone with any integrity whatsoever would want to be associated with the Republican Party?

Who needs to think

When five judges can do it for you:
We [five judges] now conclude that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to the appearance of corruption.
The law can be such a ass.

As a practical matter — thankfully — no court can command that you not draw any particular inferences from the way things appear.

Professor of predatory lending

Esenberg, of course, makes his living off the students who are sinking into ever-deeper pits of debt.
Bruce Murphy

And now for your sweeping assertion of the day:
"[President Obama] doesn't understand economics at all."
— Rick Esenberg
Funny, I thought the Bolsheviks understood it pretty well.

At the behest of the Lord Viceroy of Idaho

God help the non-featured blogs, eh?

I'm partial to the Kingston Whig-Standard's headline:
Newfoundland premier flees to U.S. for heart surgery

I'se The B'y That Builds The Boat

Maggoty fish? Them's no good for winter.

The other creationist in West Bend

Mpeterson has a letter from one of the other creationists in the running for the West Bend school board:
Intelligent Design simply allows that religious beliefs are not necessarily incompatible with known science.
No, "intelligent design" is simply creationism on a molecular scale. And in fact its best known proponents accept that humankind is descended from non-human ancestors, which is ultimately what offends the more traditional creationists the most.

And the really hard-core creationists — the biblical literalist, answers in Genesis, six-thousand-year-old universe contingent who must necessarily imagine the Deuteronomist keeping brontosauruses as pets — have no use for "intelligent design" whatsoever. To them, it's a heresy, or at best, an impure political expediency.

Rather, it is evolution — either the fact of or the scientific theory of — that allows that religious beliefs are not incompatible with science. Because evolution doesn't say anything about religion at all.*

I would question whether these candidates even know what the claims of "intelligent design" are, in spite of their apparent endorsement of its being introduced to the science curriculum.

Mightn't that be an important consideration?

While they certainly have a right to teach their own children intelligent design's creaky "god of the gaps" arguments, they clearly don't have a commensurate right to present them to other people's kids through the coercive instruments of government administration.

* Evolutionary psychology may, but that discipline isn't at issue here.

Anti-evolutionists in Wisconsin

I figure I should lay a little love back on PZ Myers, since he delivered about eleventy-thousand new visitors to this blog yesterday. The following originates with Andrew J. Petto, a senior lecturer in biology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (me old alma mater):
This has been brewing in West Bend for some time. About 4-5 years ago there were parents petitioning the school board for a review of the curriculum, because there was too much evolution. They recommended a biology book by Merrill [Publishing] whose main distinction was its "least unfavorable" rating by the Institute for Creation Research because it said the least about evolution. When Laurie and I reviewed textbooks for our article "Why Teach Evolution," the Merrill text scored a 0 (out of 40) for inclusion of contemporary thinking about 10 concepts in evolutionary science (the average was about 8 and the best books close to 18 — books got a 1 for a mention and a 4 for a detailed explanation).

The science department and administration were firm and united in opposition; the school board stood its ground, despite a long, rambling, and poorly informed presentation by David Menton (who was in town on an [Answers in Genesis] junket). Even after the loss, the parents kept coming to school and sitting in on classes, critiquing the lessons. Still, the school held firm; evolution is one of the fundamental themes in the WI State standards, which means that it is to be woven into ALL life sciences lessons: it is not a separate, pull-out unit (a fact that has confused critics and, IMHO, unjustly condemned WI's treatment of evolution).

So, this is just another episode in the continuing saga of anti-evolutionism in Wisconsin. And it is everywhere!

February 1, 2010

Blog comment of the day

"I believe the role of a judge is to say what the law is, not to twist the law to fit the judge's personal" ... election.
concerned_citizen, in re Gableman.


Breitblart connects the conspiracy dots

Asked by Fox's Megyn Kelly what motivation the U.S. Attorney would have to make such an effort, Breitblart responded: "Well, it's tied to the Justice Department. And we've been very aggressive in asking Eric Holder to investigate what's seen on the ACORN tapes, and he's ignored it."
America's decadent bastards fearful of top blogger in tinfoil fedora

As a matter of fact the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Jim Letten, is a G.W. Bush appointee. And I expect AG Holder has greater concerns than some twit in a pimp hat.

I only swore to uphold the Constitution

I never swore to actually read the thing.

Intrepid climate reporter scoops world

P-Dendro is back, and he is quite excited by what he found!

Except it was already found (and criticized) two weeks ago.

Earlier still:
The British center admitted it threw out its original data on which it pinned its predictions of disaster. Other researchers, thus, cannot check the claims.
P-Dendro, Zen master of the premiseless conditional

No such thing as bad publicity

West Bend candidate garners coveted D.P. Gumby award

WARNING: The above link may contain irreverence.

More from Mpeterson, who started this ball to rolling (and as such is the one deserving of the shout-outs, not your humble scrivener).

A perceptive Pharyngula commenter adds:
I couldn't tell from Owen's [Boots and Sabers] column whether he thought that the case law is so clear that even the wingnuts wouldn't waste taxpayer money on attempts to teach creationism or that he didn't care about the Constitution.
Even assuming the former, my question had to do with how the case law made Peterson's "entire column a massive moot point."

Fact is, the case law is wholly supportive of Peterson's column.

As one nationally-known science standards defender put it to me a few years ago, "We're educating a parade." In other words, even if David Weigand or the other two creationist aspirants to the West Bend school board have no intention of fiddling with the biology curriculum, Prof. Peterson's admonitions are a public service.

They will be rendered "moot" if and when creationists surrender to reality and give up the ghost. Which will more than likely be never.

Peterson's Saturday column is here.