Mark Green’s Ill Gotten Gains

The Wisconsin State Supreme Court issued a ruling tonight that seems more than just, given that the election for Governor is less than a week away.  The Court ruled 4-3 to wait until after the election to hear arguments about the campaign cash Green funneled into his state campaign from sources not eligible to contribute under Wisconsin election laws.

Why Mark Green would even have considered using this cash for his election, in light of Statehouse corruptionsuch as from his fellow Republican Scott Jensen, still baffles me.  As my readers know Statehouse corruption on BOTH sides of the aisle have been very much on my radar.  We must do better as a state and clean up the political process.  (A first start would have been passing and signing into law SB1)

The State Elections Board ordered Green to dump $468,000 of PAC money  a couple of months ago.  Green thought he was above the law, and refused to abide by the ruling.  His campaign also thought they could leap frog the court system and force the Supreme Court to hear their case on Green’s schedule.

Like a newspaper to the nose of a pesky dog, the Court did not allow Green to run the show.  It was the correct decision as this case will require much research and time by the Justices.  In the meantime, Green will not be able to use his ill gotten gains.

A True Sign of Desperation By The GOP

I was not surprised in the least by the way the Bush White House, and the national Republicans swooped down today on the verbal gaffe of Senator John Kerry.  The only remaining issue for the GOP this fall is how to hold onto power.  The only reason the GOP runs this fall is to retain the power, perks, and privileges that they have created for themselves.  Therefore, the fevered over-reaction by the GOP, and then the shadowing actions by Faux News, right wing talk radio, and conservative bloggers is proof positive that they know their days in power are numbered.

The Republicans are nervous as hell and will do and say anything to retain power.  You will recall that this is the same party that had one of their own say, “I’d walk over my own grandmother…….”

All over the nation the electorate is weighing in with money, passion, and energy to assist the Democrats in House and Senate races.  It is telling that in many House races where the GOP claims to be doing well their candidates are mired around 45%, and can’t seem to break higher.  There is a reason for that, and the GOP knows what it is.

The public is tired of being lied to, and spied on. They are tired of those who never truly served in the military in their youth, now starting wars while in public office, and as a result making the world a much more unsafe place.  They are tired of being led to believe there ever was a war on terror being conducted in Iraq, but instead now know it was a political decision by President Bush and Dick Cheney that had nothing to do with our national security.

The public knows what has happened in the past six years to our nation, and who did it to us.  The public will vote their hopes and not again be duped by the fear baiting rhetoric that the GOP used in 2002 and 2004.  And if the GOP thinks that a verbal gaffe will undo the Democrats I ask them to think about a statement which was proclaimed on national TV. 

That statement would be, “Mission  Accomplished.”

I ask my fellow citizens, which blunder is worse?

Poll Of The Day: The Race That Makes Me Nervous

New Jersey should never have been a cause for concern for the Democrats this year.  Tonight, six days until the polls open, and the latest polls show an up tick for the Democratic candidacy of Senator Robert Menendez.

Quinnipiac Poll shows Menendez ahead of GOP nominee Tom Kean, Jr., 49%-44%.  The poll also finds that 6% of the voters in the poll were undecided at this time.  That is fine too, since races all over the country show undecided’s breaking to the Democrats, as are the independents.  That is the good news.

The bad news is that 12% of respondents who selected a candidate to support in the poll also say they very well could change their mind before Election Day.

The Catholic Church And Political Attack Ads

If you live in a state or congressional district with heated midterm races to be decided in one week, you are very much aware that the nasty attack ads are flying all over the television screen.  They are coming from the Republicans by the ton as they try to save their positions of power.  They are coming from the Democrats with righteous indignation over what has happened to America in the past six years.

But not for the first time I wonder who really are those simple-minded citizens who sit there and watch the ads and swallow up the half-truths and smears on candidates from both sides of the aisle?  Why are these voters so poorly informed about the issues and our national debate that they would even consider allowing a self-serving political ad to shape their thinking?  Just how feeble-minded are Americans?  Perhaps I should ask instead just how feeble-minded do both political parties take the voters to be?

If you live in a state (such as Wisconsin) where there is an attempt to place discrimination against gay people into the State Constitution, you are probably aware the Catholic Church is pushing their usual one note theme that all same-sex  sex is wrong unless done in the confessional with an alter boy.  The Catholic Church in southern Wisconsin is so dismayed by all the talk among educated people and the media concerning tolerance and understanding of gay couples, that they are ordering their priests, (both gay and straight) to play a 14 minute speech by Madison Bishop Morlino during services this weekend.  As usual for Catholic religious leaders, Morlino is not dynamic and ranks right up there for excitement with watching your computer ‘de-frag’.   Watching the Bishop on-line tonight I was shocked and embarrassed for him when he trotted out the ‘natural law’ malarkey that enlightened and reasoned people discarded at the end of the 1800’s.  

It got even sadder when he took on the role of medicine man and tried to frighten listeners over stem call research.  It was the earlier Catholic Bishops, much like Morlino, that scorned Galileo for his idea that the earth rotated around the sun.  It took until 1992 for Pope John Paul II to officially concede that the earth was not stationary!  What obtuse relics are in charge of the Catholic Church?

But not for the first time do I wonder who really are these Catholics who still listen to the likes of Morlino and his fellow priests?  Why are some Catholics so poorly informed about science, history, and religion that they would even consider allowing this single voice to dictate how they vote?  What type of feeble and weak-minded parishioners will sit in the pews this weekend and swallow Marlino’s line of crap and not gag? 

Or is it like the politicians and the attack ads?  Does the Catholic Church just take their followers to be fools?  Instead will the Catholic voter reject this illegal type of coercion and use of dogma for crass political motives from their Church?  Is it any wonder the Catholic Church has lost credibility?  And why have we not challenged the Catholic Church over their tax exempt status?

Morlino may think he can cower his weak kneed priests but the blog world says Va’ fa’ un culo!

Poll Of The Day: John Gard Is Unethical

There is only one truly contested House seat in Wisconsin, and that is in the 8th Congressional District.  Former GOP Speaker of the State Assembly, and per diem manipulator extraordinaire, John Gard, is in the race of his life as he faces Democratic nominee Steve Kagen.  When it comes to making the political process unseemly there are few that do it better than Gard.    Talking as a fiscal conservative, but acting with pure greed as his motivation, he has used state per diem to make lots of extra cash for himself while serving as a legislator.

For years Gard collected the $88 per day for legislators who live outside Dane County, despite owning a home and living in Sun Prairie, which is located just outside Madison.  This per diem wasn’t just spare change!  By the end of 2005 Gard had reaped $39,931 above what he was supposedly to have received since he actually lived in Dane County while representing his northern Assembly District.  Some people have no shame!

The voters in the 8th CD are not stupid, and therefore understand a fraud when they see one, and that is why the latest St. Norbert College poll has Gard and Kagen tied at 43% each. The poll also found that 10% of the electorate is undecided.  The poll found 17% of the respondents considered themselves independent, and in most other districts around the country this group is breaking for the Democratic choice for Congress.

The most important factor for those polled when picking a candidate to vote for was character, honesty, and integrity.  Given how Gard misused his power as Speaker and took per diem in a manner that was unethical, the voters must conclude he would operate in the same fashion if sent to Congress.  Given how John Gard already has learned how to make money off the taxpayers while in Madison, just imagine what he could do for himself in Washington, D.C.


Immigration Misunderstood

Some Republicans once thought that immigration would be the major domestic issue that could galvanize their party and the electorate for the midterm elections.  The idea for draconian immigration measures aimed at preventing workers coming from Latin America found much support in the House of Representatives.  But when the huge national protest marches in favor of immigrants made it clear there were two sides to the story, the danger to the GOP was made clear.  Push too hard and the Hispanic/Latino vote in the elections will go solidly and energetically Democratic.

It has always confounded me as to why there is such a misunderstanding of the immigrant issue.  The fact that these new immigrants are coming to America for the same reasons that our great-great grandparents came here should not surprise us.  The hope for a better life, and a more solid way to pay for a family is not a new concept.  What many conservatives argue is that some of these new faces did not do what other immigrant’s have done, and that is renounce their heritage to fit in.    I would counter that there are reasons for that.

When the families of the 1800’s came to these shores they were no different than the Latino’s today, except they had far fewer barriers.   If the 19th century newcomer was ill they were held for a period of time, but otherwise were allowed into the country legally.  They were registered, counted, and in some cases offered land parcels such as here in the Midwest.  But perhaps the greatest difference is that those earlier immigrants were able to bring their entire family.

The whole family traveled together from whichever country they heralded.  They did not need to scale fences, dig trenches, or pay ‘coyotes’ for transport.  If they survived the often-rugged Atlantic journey they were welcomed to America and handed their citizenship.

Today Latino’s face a far different story and our understanding it is vital to this whole issue.  The worker from Mexico that comes here by any means possible does so to pay for a family he/she left behind.  A family he/she may never see again.  Think about that.  The economic plight in Latin America is such that in order to sustain a family a worker makes an attempt to get into America.  Once here the Latino takes any job available and sends as much money as possible back to his family by check or money order.  And I repeat, to a family he/she may never see again.

While in the United States the worker is paying taxes and Social Security and even may buy a home.  All they want is the right to live here legally without fear, and yet there are some cruel people who just cannot allow that to happen. 

The reason that many Latino workers here do not immerse themselves fully into our society is that they still have those loved ones living in abject poverty elsewhere.  The modern immigrant can’t renounce his/her past because they are tied to it through family in another country.

I fully reject the notion that these Latino’s are lazy or ‘free-loaders’ as I have never seen a harder working group of people.  I think it utterly repugnant that some, for pure political motives, would want to round up and remove the Latinos.  I think it ludicrous to build a fence and am thankful that the fence building idea was no more than political salve without the funds to actually construct it.  Finally I am grateful that the Iraq war, economic woes, high gas prices, lack of health coverage and many other issues in the fall campaign has swallowed up this hollow arguement over immigration.

From 1959! And It Is Mine!

Sunday afternoon was picture perfect, the weather demanding everyone to be outdoors.  It did not take any coaxing for me to enjoy the fall weather.  While doing some errands and shopping we decided to stop at Westside Antiques Mall in Madison, Wisconsin.   This was the first visit to their new location on the west side of the city.

Many vendors have set up various small spaces that allow for a wide variety of unique items to be displayed.  We were almost finished looking at everything from old maps to Victrola’s when I found the missing item to my Elvis Presley collection.

I started collecting all of Elvis’s RCA albums as a teenager, and had only one more old, and hard to find treasure, to have a full set.  There it was, placed with several other albums from a variety of singers.

The 1959 “For LP Fans Only” was a unique PR move by Elvis’ manager, the crafty, wise, and at times unscrupulous, Col. Tom Parker.  Elvis had been called up by the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany.  The rock-and-roll phenomenon was unable to record new material but Parker knew he had to keep Elvis in the eyes of his public.    The release of the “For LP Fans Only” was one of the vehicles chosen to fulfill that mission.

The album was new, but the music was from various other albums and recording sessions.  It was the first time that an LP was ever issued without the artist’s name on the cover…..or on the backside either. 

That was the final album I needed to complete the RCA released recordings he made during his lifetime for my collection.  From his first RCA album of energetic rockabilly recorded earlier at  Sun Studios in Memphis,  to his final blue vinyl release “Moody Blue” in 1977,  The King still lives on in my stereo.  I have also kept up to date with newly released material from the RCA recording vaults.

I am one of those oddities that have a turntable component in my stereo system, and own a whole lot of albums by a wide variety of performers.  They are played regularly here.  I know some are reading this and find that concept as outdated as a Victrola. 

Yeah, it was a perfect fall day!

Poll Of The Day: Shays Tied In Connecticut

With just a little over a week to go, the battle in Connecticut’s 4th CD is one of the nations most energized races.  I have one million reasons to say that this morning.  The DCCC has just put over $1 million dollars into the race for ads buys between now and Election Day.

I have argued that northeastern Republicans are a vanishing breed. I feel that several more will be defeated in November.  The biggest battle for the House in that region is pitting incumbent Chris Shays against Democratic nominee Diane Farrell.  The latest polls show a deadlocked election.  Earlier the Green Party candidate did the responsible thing, (they often do not) and removed himself from the race, throwing his support to Farrell.

A recent poll has the 19-year incumbent tied at 43% with his challenger, with 9% of the electorate undecided.