Which Candidate Reflects Your Views?

Answer the 11 questions to find out which candidates are most aligned with your views and opinions. You may skip questions if you do not want them factored into the results. This quiz is not meant to pick your candidate for you. It is designed to inform you of the various stances candidates make.

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The Best Paragraphs In The Sunday Newspaper

Thomas Friedman is a gifted columunist because he is a deep thinker with insight into foreign affairs.  Once again his piece in the New York Times makes for the best paragraphs in the Sunday paper.

9/11 has made us stupid. I honor, and weep for, all those murdered on that day. But our reaction to 9/11 — mine included — has knocked America completely out of balance, and it is time to get things right again.

It is not that I thought we had new enemies that day and now I don’t. Yes, in the wake of 9/11, we need new precautions, new barriers. But we also need our old habits and sense of openness. For me, the candidate of 9/12 is the one who will not only understand who our enemies are, but who we are.


You may think Guantánamo Bay is a prison camp in Cuba for Al Qaeda terrorists. A lot of the world thinks it’s a place we send visitors who don’t give the right answers at immigration. I will not vote for any candidate who is not committed to dismantling Guantánamo Bay and replacing it with a free field hospital for poor Cubans. Guantánamo Bay is the anti-Statue of Liberty.


Total business arrivals to the United States fell by 10 percent over the 2004-5 period alone, while the number of business visitors to Europe grew by 8 percent in that time. The travel industry’s recent Discover America Partnership study concluded that “the U.S. entry process has created a climate of fear and frustration that is turning away foreign business and leisure travelers and hurting America’s image abroad.” Those who don’t visit us, don’t know us.


We can’t afford to keep being this stupid! We have got to get our groove back. We need a president who will unite us around a common purpose, not a common enemy. Al Qaeda is about 9/11. We are about 9/12, we are about the Fourth of July — which is why I hope that anyone who runs on the 9/11 platform gets trounced.

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Wisconsin Book Festival A Madison Favorite



Wear the old coat and buy the new book.
    ~ Austin Phelps ~ 

( My latest acquisitions while on State Street  Saturday afternoon are pictured above.)

It is hard to believe that the Wisconsin Book Festival is now six years old.  I suspect many of us made a mental note as the month of October approached that the long weekend of books and authors was nearing.   I also suspect that many of us have our insert from the local paper marked with the authors we wish to hear, and the various places where the events are being held.  If you are like me you have also made plans to hook up with friends along the way.  I think carbing up with friends for this event is half the fun!

It seems only yesterday at one of the festivals I sat in Canterbury Books and heard Edmund Morris give a brilliant talk on his book “Theodore Rex”.  ( State Representative Scott Jensen had introduced him that night to an overflow audience.)   It seems that some rabble-rouser in that crowd asked Morris to contrast TR with GW.  After the laughter passed…………

On another occasion Garry Wills who had written “Why I Am A Catholic” answered a very direct question (from that same rabble-rouser) about gay rights and the Church that seemed to unsettle some of the audience.  Wills, being both a class act and an intelligent man answered with clarity, though the Pope might not have agreed.

The topics and ideas during the Book Festival are always lively and diverse.  The choices are akin to a buffet on a cruise ship with the long weekend just the perfect recipe for the hungry mind.  While all events are free it is a good idea to help support this event to insure that it is a longtime event in our community.

As we look forward to the festival we might recall with fondness the bookstores that are not around any more.  Canterbury, which was the perfect coffee and sweet stop while browsing books on State Street, is now just a memory.  While that cozy and warm place is gone, the book festival remains a promising time for book lovers. 

This year the book fest takes place October 10-14, with a theme that seems so appropriate given the times in which we now live.

In honor of the Festival’s theme of “Domestic Tranquility,” speakers at the 2007 Wisconsin Book Festival will explore historical and present-day issues regarding this concept. What begets tranquility? Who decides what is “domestic”? And what role does the government play in protecting it?

From immigration and border disputes, to violence and the right to bear arms, to religion and public life — novelists, poets, journalists, and others will gather to explore what a tranquil home might look like to them.

         My home is where my books are. 
                                            ~ Ellen Thompson ~

While all events are free it is a good idea to help support this event to insure that it is a longtime event in our community.

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I rarely write of sports here, but today there is every reason to acknowledge the Chicago Cubs.  They are in post-season play for the first time since 2003.  And since they are truly America’s team, and perpetual underdogs, I have been their supporter again this season.  This habit of following the Cubs started more than a decade ago when a good friend married a woman who loved the team.  To be better at sports chat I would read the sports stories in order to converse on the topics.  I never have become a baseball fan overall, but do find the Cubbies worthy of my time.

This year the Cubs again provided moments of glory, and times of despair.  Through it all the fans might get weary and complain when the team did not perform, but they always retained the belief that better days for the team were just ahead.  Last night those dreams were realized.

I have never subscribed to the notion that one has to support the team from the state that they live.  I just can find no warmth for the Milwaukee Brewers.  I know they play great ball at times, but they just do not hit the mark.  I would have to care much more about baseball and football to pay real attention to the Brewers or the Packers.  Truth is I just find it hard to get interested in either of those teams. 

However, I find it easy to support the Chicago Cubs in the summer.  They play with such heart and faith in ‘this season’ will be ‘the season’ that they will see their pennant dreams come true.  Every year there is a setback that ruins the plans, but without fail they leave the field saying ‘wait ’til next year’.  That is the American spirit that deserves our support.

I join with millions of others around the nation and say with gusto, “GO, CUBS, GO!”

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Historic Tourist Site To Be Removed

A piece of Americana will be replaced and no one will ever see again the place where it all happened.  A great friend sent me this today, and as the story states, the tourist site will be gone within two months.

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“Founding Brothers” vs. Wisconsin State Budget Conferees

It struck me recently how ironic it was for me to be reading again Joseph Ellis’s “Founding Brothers” at night, while reading of the never-ending state budget negotiations by day.  No one will ever confuse the two groups.  Ellis writes with great passion about the deep thinkers and spirited gentlemen who brought insight, philosophical convictions, along with a sense of history to the table as they crafted our Constitution, and helped design the start of a nation.  Meanwhile in Wisconsin there seems to be only stalemate, political posturing, and short sightedness as the budget conferees do more bickering than budget making. 

While there was plenty of mean spiritedness and vindictiveness among some founders of the nation, which Ellis writes about, they performed when the times demanded it, and completed their mission.  It seems from my perspective that the only thing one can say about the broken state budget process is that the mission is not being completed.  Political posturing is the only result thus far.

As various players in the state budget process make press headlines about the process not being over for many more weeks, or the dreadful consequences if this or that policy is not included in the final document, the founders of the nation were playing to the future generations.  John Adams saved all his correspondence even prior to the war for independence to showcase the events that were leading to great things for a new country.  Can anyone argue that one single provision in the new state budget will have any truly profound effect on the people of Wisconsin?  After all the acrimony is over, will there be anything to be proud of?

Had the conferees played to history, and the impact for the greater good, they would have accepted and shaped a health care plan for the citizens of Wisconsin.  There is no shortage of evidence to support the need for such a plan that was started in the Democratic controlled State Senate.  Just as the Constitutional Convention sidestepped for political purposes the issue of slavery in order to accommodate Southern delegates, the Republicans demanded that health care be eliminated from the budget in order to move the process along.  History is not kind to such bad decisions.

The state budget process is broken for many reasons.  But I suggest that the lack of personal trust among members of the legislature is among the top reasons for the inability to complete the budget that was due on July 1, 2007.  There were no fewer dislikes or fissures among the “Founding Brothers”, but there always seems to be that eye cast to the pages of history.  They sensed that they were doing something big and wonderful.  With the budget conferees there seems to be only political calculations designed to trip up the other party at the expense of government doing grand things for society.

As Ellis writes, the paintings from that era all look as if they knew we would be watching their actions and reading their words.  So they acted with care and made huge brilliant decisions.  In contrast a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Judy Robson said in a news story that “ordinary constituents have allowed lawmakers to dawdle”, and therefore not forced the budget process to move ahead.  It is not that the public does not know or understand that the budget process is late and broken, it is that they are so tired of this type of government inaction that they just tune out.  The budget conferees have no sense of history, and the public has lost faith.

As I said, no one will confuse the nation builders, and Wisconsin lawmakers.

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Exposing GOP Hypocrisy, Again

Hypocrisy among the GOP is the topic today.  I found the MoveOn ad flap in the New York Times to be just a big pile of rubbish.  MoveOn was right!  The GOP members of Congress went wild eyed in their theatrical response to the ad.  The chest thumpers on FAUX News did all but draw blood as they foamed at the mouths.

But I think the following puts it all into perspective.

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Gay U.S. Senator Votes Against Hate Crimes Legislation

I argue that there is one thing more than any other that the public despises when it comes to politics.  And that is hypocrisy.  Today on the Senate floor a big dose of hypocrisy was served up for all to see, and it was not pretty.

Gay United States Senator Craig, Republican from Idaho, who came out to the nation while looking for sex in a men’s room, voted today against the hate crimes legislation that was attached to the defense reauthorization bill.  This amendment was needed for many years, but never found the votes required for passage.  Until now.

On a 60-39 vote the amendment offered by Senator Kennedy is now soon going to President Bush, who of course, finds no need for the change in federal law.  In fact the White House has put out the usual bluster about vetoing the measure.  Since it is attached to the defense bill it will be fun to watch conservatives squirm.  On May 3rd, the House of Representatives passed a companion bill, with strong bipartisan support, 237 to 180.

The need for the federal law is that the existing hate-crime law applies only to attacks on people motivated by race, religion, color or national origin, but not sexual orientation.  Even Republicans saw the need for the measure and voted for passage.  Today Warner, Snowe, Collins, Lugar, Voinovich, Spector, Coleman, Gregg, and Gordon Smith all voted in favor.

But the latest member of Congress to be publicly outed recently must have felt quite horrible inside to vote against such a common sense measure.  Senator Craig must know by now that living his double life not only looks foolish, but also is not healthy.  Healthy minded folks do not seek sex in restrooms.  Thankfully his GOP colleagues voted for him just in case in the future anyone beats up the gay Senator for his lifestyle.  Too bad he couldn’t care enough about other gay people across the nation to do the same.

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