Strident Nancy Mistele Wrong For Dane County Executive Job

I was rather perplexed to hear the news of Nancy Mistele running for Dane County Executive next spring.  My very first thought upon hearing the news was how far back do conservatives in Dane County need to dredge to find candidates for public office.  Nancy Mistele was always more a caricature of a mad conservative than a finely tuned public servant, so why would Republicans want to reprise Mistele in that role for 2009?

Nancy Mistele, in my estimation, was always her own worst enemy, much more so than the press or partisans on the other side could ever be.   She never seemed to be overly excited to learn new things while on the Madison School Board, while loving to ape the same old arguments that made for great conservative coffee-klatch talk.  But as a result of her actions she always missed the mark among rank-and-file Madison citizens who wanted more depth and less bombast from the school board.

With those thoughts coming back to my mind the other morning while hearing of her desire to take over for Kathleen Falk, I had to assume that the GOP candidate barrel must be pretty dry.  Are they truly not able to find a seasoned politician that will find policy more enthralling than bitter political combat.  Because that is all that I remember about Nancy Mistele.  Her love of the political fight was central to her being on the Madison School Board.  And for those who were not around to witness those days, let me assure you it was not pretty.  (Though one-on-one Nancy Mistele can be a charming woman.  She just does not play well on the bigger stage.)

Her strident and argumentative nature, as displayed over and over again while on the school board, should serve us all with a warning.  There is no way in heck that she should be anywhere near the chair where the County Executive sits.  A well-measured and highly competent hand at the controls of the County Executive office is what is required when dealing with the county budget, and the competing personalities on the county board.  While Kathleen Falk forms working consensus in her job, and the facts prove this to be the case, Mistele seems to enjoy the combat and partisanship that only makes for hard feelings and few results.  Dane County’s needs demand the proven skills that Kathleen Falk brings with her every day as County Executive.

The conservatives might be desperate for a candidate, but Dane County deserves better than Nancy Mistele.

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Reluctantly, I Agree With Democratic Decision About Joe Lieberman

Anyone running through my posts about Senator Joe Lieberman from 2006 will know that I find him nothing short of repugnant.  He has never found support here, and most certainly after his display as a Republican tool during the 2008 election season, he has no right to expect anything from Democrats.  He threw in his chips with the Dark Side, and came up short.  And yet the powerhouses of the United States Senate kept the wayward Lieberman on as chairperson of a powerful committee today. 

I admit to having mixed feelings over the news.  To be honest, I never thought that the outcome would be anything different than what transpired.  So I am not shocked by what happened.  In fact I was so resigned to the outcome, that for the past two weeks I never wrote a word about it.  While the chattering class hoped for nothing short of a lynching, more pragmatic minds, including that of President-elect Obama  (it still feels so good to type those words) opted for a more low-key and sensible course of action.  By keeping the irksome Lieberman close at hand they hope to secure his vote for a number of issues that Democrats will require.  And as Democrats will approach the 60 votes needed to stop a Senate filibuster, the smart strategy was to keep Lieberman pacified.

I also suspect that this is ‘change’ in some way, as LBJ decades ago would have cut off Lieberman’s jewels and handed them back on a platter.  Can you see Karl Rove and Dick Cheney allowing a member of their side the same leeway had they strayed so far from the Mother Ship?  So when Obama speaks of a new tone, and less partisanship in national politics, he started at the point where he had every reason to feel a pin prick.  Instead of blood-letting, Obama turned the other cheek.

So yeah, I would like to have seen a swift kick in the butt to Lieberman who utterly betrayed the Democratic Party.  But I have to admit it was rather classy how Obama handled the matter, and perhaps won the play of the week in politics.

Follow A Shipping Box Around The World Via The Internet

This is one of those innovative type of news stories that allow readers to better understand international issues.  In this case, globalization and economics.  This is a great way to show the inter-dependance we have with each other around the globe.

BBC News is following a container around the world for a year to tell stories about the world economy.

The box’s journey began in September, transporting Scotch whisky. During the next leg it will carry products loaded by a major US retail chain, including a variety of health and personal care products, beauty supplies and gardening supplies for American consumers.

This is a great map with lots of interesting information as the journey continues.

Remarkable Front Page Above The Fold Picture In The New York Times

Yes!  This is the way I love to be greeted in the morning by my newspaper…..with powerful news, that is good.

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Senator Edward M. Kennedy made a dramatic but decidedly informal return to the Capitol on Monday and pronounced himself eager to work on an economic-stimulus package and health-care reform.

“I feel fine,” the Massachusetts Democrat told greeters outside the caucus room of the Russell Senate Office Building. Mr. Kennedy was escorted by his wife, Victoria, and their two Portuguese water dogs. He walked with the aid of a cane that once belonged to his father, the late Joseph P. Kennedy.

Six months ago, Mr. Kennedy suffered a seizure that quickly led to the discovery that he had a malignant brain tumor. He underwent surgery in June, followed by radiation and chemotherapy, and convalesced at his home on Cape Cod, Mass. He returned to Washington in October.

President Bush Helps Barack Obama Bring The Troops Home Early

President Bush stated the troops sent to Iraq could not possibly come home until ground based events allowed for those troops to be removed. He said it so many times we all just stopped listening.  Well that frame of mind seems to have changed as a fixed timetable for withdrawl from Iraq is now the latest White House position.  This is a most positive development over the past weeks, but one that could and should have arrived much earlier.  (Of course, there is also the other option not chosen by Bush of just not ever having invaded a Middle Eastern nation.)  The move by the White House will make it much easier for Barack Obama to fulfill his campaign pledge about the war in Iraq.

Obama pledged during the campaign to withdraw the remaining U.S. combat troops in 16 months, at roughly the rate of one combat brigade a month. The plan tentatively approved in Baghdad yesterday would essentially give Obama until the end of 2011 to pull out all U.S. forces, while also putting the imprimatur of the Bush administration on the idea that there needs to be an ironclad deadline for troop removal.

“It greatly eases the pressure on [Obama] to meet a fixed abstract schedule for U.S. withdrawals,” said Anthony H. Cordesman, an expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The agreement signed yesterday by U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebarineeds approval by the Iraqi parliament. And the Obama transition team is signaling that it wants Congress to review the pact, though not necessarily approve it.

“President-elect Obama believes it is critical that a status-of-forces agreement that ensures sufficient protections for our men and women in uniform is reached before the end of the year. We look forward to reviewing the final text of the agreement,” said Brooke Anderson, a policy adviser and spokeswoman on national security.

But others familiar with the team’s thinking said there is little question that the agreement should relieve Obama of the serious problem he would have inherited when the U.N. mandate that authorizes U.S. forces to operate in Iraq expires Dec. 31. The replacement agreement appears to give both sides what they need: for the United States, protection for its troops; for Iraq, a clear signal that the U.S. military presence will end on a specific date.

Hijacked Oil Tanker!

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BBC link and photo.

When I was a boy there was a certain routine that took place Monday through Friday when the Stevens Point Daily Journal arrived in the mail.  I had to read the latest adventure of Buz Sawyer.  Every Friday there was a cliffhanger moment that was only to get resolved by reading the next strip the following Monday.  That sense of the unknown along with high adventure went through me again when I heard about the hijacked oil tanker from Saudi Arabia nearing Somalia.  The cargo is worth $100 million!

International adventure and high drama are going to unfold in the hours and days to come.  And in this era of instant news we will not have to wait till next week to see how this is resolved.  I think the powers that be must not allow this drama to continue too long.  A stiff show of what will not be allowed must come swiftly.  Piracy on the high seas must end.  Good gosh, I have just advocated a military response.   The brazen nature of these acts has only escalated, and it must end.

The Sirius Star is the biggest tanker ever to be hijacked, with a cargo of 2m barrels – a quarter of Saudi Arabia’s daily output – worth more than $100m.

The vessel was captured in what the navy called an “unprecedented” attack 450 nautical miles (830km) off the Kenyan coast on Sunday.

Its international crew of 25, including two Britons, is said to be safe.

The hijacking was highly unusual both in terms of the size of the ship and the fact it was attacked so far from the African coast, says BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner.

The seizure points to the inability of a multi-national naval task force sent to the region earlier this year to stop Somali piracy, he says.