Annette Ziegler And Sanjaya Malakar Both Weak Links

It is no longer possible for the citizens of Wisconsin to look with any respect at Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Annette Ziegler.  Tonight’s debate on statewide public televison was embarrassing as the ethically challenged Ziegler was again unable and unwillingly to confront her lapses in judgment and judicial demeanor while serving on the circuit bench.  She treated the whole state as fools by giving pablum for responses in relation to the most serious questions about her lack of honesty and fairness while serving as a judge.  It is quite clear that Ziegler does not understand the gravity of her errors while serving as a judge.  She also does not appreciate how upset the voters are with her lapses of judgement, and what that might mean for all of us if she were to be elected to the Supreme Court.

I can only assume by her answers tonight that Ziegler thinks the voters are playthings to be easily manipulated.  In fact we are not. 

Over the past couple weeks the weakest link on “American Idol”, Sanjaya Malakar has beat the odds and remained on the show even though he has no real musical talent.  Meanwhile, for the first time in our state’s history a seriously flawed, and ethically challenged candidate has been placed on the April ballot for Wisconsin State Supreme Court.  After the Barbie doll bouncing look of Ziegler’s hair this evening (Malakar, it should be noted, has funny hairstyles too, and if Zielger can’t respect us with honest answers we should feel no reason to respect her),  and her lack of honesty to the questions, I can only hope that Wisconsin citizens turn out and reject our weakest and ethically challenged link for the Supreme Court.  Perhaps next week America will do the same with Malakar.

We have a duty to vote for integrity, honesty, ethics, and the Wisconsin tradition when we cast our ballot for Linda Clifford on Tuesday.  Ziegler does not fit the profile of an honest person.  Her responses on the debate tonight are proof of that.

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The Madness Continues, It Must End

There has been much Democratic Congressional activity to bring our troops home from Iraq, while Republicans use parliamentary tactics to slow or stop that progress.  The President has threatened a veto of a bill that would force a dose of sanity into the equation by setting a deadline for the troops to be brought out of the chaos and civil war that is now the result of the U.S. invasion of that Middle Eastern nation.

GOP Presidential candidate John McCain even says that Baghdad’s violence is getting better as the result of Bush’s decision to send even more troops into the heart of the battle at the start of this year.

Well the shocking and sickening news from yesterday should nauseate every American, and energize every member of Congress to work overtime to stop the madness and bring our troops home.

Five suicide bombers struck Shiite marketplaces in northeast Baghdad and a town north of the capital at nightfall Thursday, killing at least 122 people and wounding more than 150 in one of Iraq’s deadliest days in years.The savage attacks came as a new American ambassador began his first day on the job, and Senate Democrats ignored a veto threat and approved a bill to require President Bush to start withdrawing troops.At least 178 people were killed or found dead Thursday, which marked the end of the seventh week of the latest U.S.-Iraqi military drive to curtail violence in Baghdad and surrounding regions.

There is only one sensible and rationale way to proceed and that is to stop the bloodletting that is caused in large part by our continued presence in that country.  The American people must let their feelings be known in letters to the editor, talk shows, church socials, and with friends around the office.  We made our views known loud and clear during the mid-term elections in 2006, but some have forgotten our message when we cast our ballots.  So we need to restate our message again.  Some have forgotten that it is the citizens who pay the taxes and elect our representatives, including the president.  It is the citizens who should control the direction of the nation.   As citizens we again need to be loud, clear, and direct with our message as there seems to be attention deficit disorder among many in Congress and in the White House.

This madness must end.

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Larry Palm And Larry Pasha For Madison City Council

I have hesitated to write anything concerning the local Madison City Council races since the vast majority of my readers live outside of Madison.  But there have been two local races that have caught my attention the past couple of months, and as such I have a few points to make.   One might think I perhaps endorse anyone with the name Larry by the headline to this post.  I use to work with a man who spelled his version ‘Lary’, but would now have difficulty endorsing him for election should he ever run again. 

Larry Palm from Madison’s 15 District deserves reelection as he has voted the fiscal sensibilities of his constituents against the sometimes less fiscally responsible members of the city council.  He has also been an advocate of social justice but understands his primary role as a city alderman is making sure the streets are plowed, the garbage picked up, and the taxes kept in check.  He has passed the grade on all points, and therefore deserves the votes of his constituents in the April election.

In an “Isthmus” newspaper interview this campaign cycle Palm talked about his understanding that city budgets need to be in line with the citizen’s ability to pay the taxes. 

“I’m worried about property taxes. Senior citizens and working families are being taxed on the one thing that has the most value — their home — but pay with something they don’t have — disposable income. At the same time I recognize the positive impact that City programs have on the lives of all residents. I believe that setting priorities is the key to striking the right balance between responsible spending and reasonable taxes.

When I talk to my neighbors and constituents, I ask them where the city should be directing energy and resources, and their answers help me to determine the right priorities. I keep these priorities in mind when the Council is considering the budget. During the budget debate, I worked with other alders to find solutions that maximize resources without boosting tax bills, such as using existing police vehicles instead of purchasing new ones when adding officers. “

His opponent, Vicky Selkowe, is running an aggressive and well-funded race.  A voter from the 15th District penned the following about her campaign and sent it to me recently.

“Palm’s opponent is on track to raise $15,000.  She’s quoted in the State Journal as saying she’s not paying attention to how much she’s spending.  That exactly what the problem will be if she gets elected!   When she came to the door in Dec. for nomination signatures, she said Larry is paying too much attention to spending, like questioning coffee urns for the senior center.

I said didn’t that one cost a couple thousand dollars?   “um actually $2,500.”

The race in the 15th will go down to the wire, but Larry Palm will better serve his constituents.

Meanwhile in my backyard Larry Pasha is working to oust Paul Skidmore in the 9th District.  Skidmore and I live a very short distance from each other (less than a block), so one might assume that I would be on his mailing list for council updates.  One would think, but one would be wrong.  He told me a couple years ago that he has a mailing list but it consists of mostly those who reside in his condo association.  I asked to be added…….perhaps next month with the election of Larry Pasha a line of communication between the council and the voters can be established.  This complaint is one that I have heard often in our walks around the area, as we converse with other voters.

Skidmore and I have many differences of opinion on various issues that face the city but the one that tops the list for me is Skidmore’s lack of a true dialogue with anyone outside his home community.   If he were to actually listen to others in his neighboorhood he might find his ideas and votes are  often wrong.

Larry Pasha will better represent the voters, as he understands the need for a dialogue with those who would pay his salary to be an alderperson.

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Madison Voting Absentee In Large Numbers!

i-voted.gifIt was only a slight wait, but still a wait all the same at the Madison City Clerk’s office today as we voted absentee in the Wisconsin spring election.  Since the educational community has next week off for spring break the number of absentee voters has swelled far beyond what is normally seen at the clerk’s office.  About 8,400 absentee voters had already visited and voted, and it is only Tuesday.

I was heartened to see college students in line today, and am glad the efforts to mobilize the UW-Madison campus seem to be bearing fruit. Shuttle bus service is open to students from the campus to the City Clerk’s office.  The votes of these young citizens are very important for Wisconsin’s future.

The importance of Madison voters going to the polls (or the City Clerk’s office) and electing Linda Clifford, a credible and trustworthy person as the next Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, cannot be overstated.  Our numbers in Madison, and around Dane County, often serve as the breakwater for more conservative voters in other parts of the state.

If you plan to be out of the area on Tuesday (Election Day) get to your City Clerk’s office and vote for Linda Clifford today. 

The Madison City Clerk’s Office has extended hours in the coming days for absentee voting. From Monday through Thursday, the office will remain open until 6:30 p.m. On Saturdays, it will be open at 8 a.m. and close at 1 p.m.

Vote and take another Clifford voter along with you!

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I Agree With George McGovern (Again)


Lets face it, many of us in the past six years have thought about it. 

As we watch a war that the Islamic world feels is aimed directly at them, the idea above has passed through our minds.  As we witness the international community splinter, finding American foreign policy to blame for the world condition, we have thought about the slogan above.  We think those thoughts because we yearn for a President with mature and reasonable foreign policy credentials. 

Tonight two friends gave me the bumper sticker as they know of my fascination with the life and times of Richard Nixon.  Though I do not place stickers on my car the slogan made me think back to the 2005 visit by George McGovern at the UW-Madison campus.  McGovern was the 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee that had heart and principle, but not enough votes. 

I went back into my writings tonight and found what I had penned about his speech to that huge university crowd.  I think it worth mentioning here.

“Perhaps the statement that caught the audience by surprise was when McGovern firmly said, ” I wish he (Nixon) were still in the White House, than what is there today.”  I was amused that there was applause as a result, and then McGovern added with that famous little smile that shows there is a gift of a good story tinged with humor waiting inside the old man, “I can say that honestly since Nixon is safely on the other side of the great divide.”

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In Defense of Rep. Terry Musser

This weekend I have heard some rather harsh remarks concerning Wisconsin Republican Representative Terry Musser, and the news story that broke in the Capital Times about his military resume.  To hear some talk one would think he had made some huge grievous mistake on purpose for political gain. This whole issue is overblown, and is just not important.

Let us take a look at the nuts and bolts of the issue as reported by the Madison Capital Times.

The Missouri-based P.O.W. Network charged on its Web site that Musser’s military records show he never completed training for the Special Forces, popularly known as the Green Berets. Musser’s official biography in the state Blue Book describes him as having served two tours in Vietnam as a “paratrooper and Green Beret, 6th Special Forces Fort Bragg, N.C.” between 1965 and 1968.  He served with the 6th Special Forces, which were based at Fort Bragg and never deployed to Vietnam, from 1966 to 1967. But according to Special Forces veterans, serving with a unit is not the same as having completed the training to qualify as a member of Special Forces.

If you know Terry Musser in his official capacity as a legislator you know him to be a straight shooter and forthright when he talks to you.  He deals with issues as he feels them in his gut, and he is just pleasant to be around.  That sometimes can be a rare find in the Statehouse.  For anyone to think that he needed to jazz up his military resume to enhance his image just does not understand Terry Musser.  He is down to earth and real.  You may disagree with him on policy, but one cannot say he is a schemer or a manipulator.  (For the record I came to know him while serving as a Committee Clerk for an Assembly Committee, of which he was a member.)

As the Capital Times reported, “Musser said in a prepared statement Friday that while he wore a green beret when serving with the Special Forces in Fort Bragg, “I was not Special Forces qualified. My biography does not make that distinction clear enough.”  He added that he was “not old enough to begin training for Special Forces qualification” and that upon returning to Vietnam, “(I) ended my tenure with the Special Forces.”

In the end, as the news article noted Musser’s case is “not uncommon.”  And I repeat, to know Representative Musser is all that needs to be said about the matter.  This is a simple mistake. 

This whole story is all the more amusing at a time when our President who does have a military record with many unanswered questions used misinformation as a vehicle to lead us to war in Iraq.  Lets keep things in perspective. 

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Elizabeth and John Edwards On 60 Minutes

It has been a heart-touching week for America as a major Presidential contender  and his wife dealt with a harsh personal situation with honesty and style in front of the press.  There has been no other political moment that quite matches the one that played out in Chapel Hill this week.  Therefore, Elizabeth and John Edwards will sit down for an interview on 60 Minuteswith Katie Couric. The program is scheduled to air Sunday (tonight) at 7:00 PM ET.

In some parts of the country, 60 Minutesmay be delayed by the UNC basketball game. Tune in to see an amazing family.

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John And Elizabeth Edwards Touched America

I write this tonight after thinking much about John and Elizabeth Edwards since the very human and brave news conference in Chapel Hill earlier today.  All of America understands the type of battle that this public family is fighting.  If not personally, than each of us knows from family and friends the fight with cancer, or some other dreadful disease.

I was struck by the very human touch that both John and Elizabeth showed to our country.  No pretense, just real people living real life with all the ups and downs that comes to each of us.  They will not buckle to the bad news, but find ways to adjust and move on. 

As I watched the events on CNN I got misty over the gutsy style they showed America, and the fact Elizabeth looked wonderful and spoke strongly about her situation.  Politics was made softer for a few hours today and gentler.  It was bittersweet that it took a story of this type to make people pause and think about issues that really matter.

But it was also remarkable that both John and Elizabeth, who know the rigors of politics, and the numbing experience that comes with running for the White House, feel so strongly about our nation that they will fight on.  They both feel so intense about the issues of the day in spite of the health news that confronts them, that they will invest themselves with the future of the nation.  No one would have faulted them for bowing out and going private with this battle.

If they can stay sustained in the fight for a better tomorrow with the news they received this week, then we must ask ourselves what more can we also do to shape a better country?  I think their attitude paves the way for you and me to fight the battles where we can, hope and work for the best people and causes as we can discern them, and then have faith that our works will produce results that will make our nation proud.

I wonder if they know how much they truly touched the nation today?

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