Wisconsin State Senate Wrong: 10-Year Old Kids Should Not Be Hunting With Loaded Rifle

I know something about stuffing strange gun bills through the Wisconsin Legislature.  After all, I was the legislative aide to former State Representative Lary Swoboda at the time he authored the blind hunting bill in the state.  If you have never spent any time with a quick-minded reporter from one of the Chicago papers, let me tell you blind hunting should not be your introductory topic on which to spar.   My ethical qualms tore me between doing the job I was hired to do, and my sincere opposition to the measure on policy grounds.   In the end I was able to do both by talking off the record with the reporters.

These many years later I see how legislators get trapped into authoring such measures as a sign they are ‘in touch’ with their districts.  To be more blunt, it is a sign the elected officials are in touch with the special interests who fund the campaigns.

The latest such sop handed to the gun lobby and sporting interests was the passage in the State Senate of a bill allowing 10-year-old kids to hunt.   I know there are some kids at that age that want to hunt, some at 13 want to drive, and by 14 want to have sex.  But with all things there is a time and a season.  When most 10-year-olds are still not responsible enough to take the garbage to the curb each week one has to wonder what was in the head of the sponsor of this measure, Democrat Jim Holperin.  When did the 10-year-olds of the state become so politically savvy that they were able to write their elected officials and get a bill passed?  Or were the special interests just working for the bill?

The fact is that some of the hunting interests in the state see a slip in the number of young people that feel exhilaration over the notion of toting a weapon into the woods and killing animals.   Let me be clear about this.  There was no huge expression of need from the 10-year-olds on this matter.  It was all about the special interests.  If as stated by Senator Holperin, the bill’s sponsor, that he is eager to help young people find ways to spend their free time surely he could have found some other avenue to explore than one that allows access to a deadly weapon. 

What pray tell is in the water above Highway 29?

This is a law that will result in tragedy.  When it happens I hope those in the State Senate who passed it take the time to issue a meaningless press release, fully understanding that when they had the chance to stop the bill they opted for special interest concerns  over safety.  Because that is exactly what they did.  Worse yet, we paid them to do it.

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Sheridan Correct To Not Attend Fundraiser

I was pleased to hear the news that the Assembly Democratic leadership of the Wisconsin State Legislature will not attend a fundraiser during the on-going budget process.

This past week I wrote the following.

The fact that our political process ‘requires’ so much money is an issue that can be debated endlessly.  But I think we can all agree that the timing of this fundraiser, which just happens to fall smack in the middle of the budget process, should raise red flags.  

We want to assume each of our legislators is a ray of democracy striving to do what is right.  For me, and I suspect for the bulk of my readers, we understand the reality of the political process.  We want to think the best, but know better.

I am not sure how anyone under the Statehouse dome could have been so relaxed with this idea in the first place, but I am clearly pleased that there will be no attendance of those who are constructing the state budget.

The state Assembly’s Democratic leaders said they won’t attend a campaign fundraiser next week to preserve their pledge to avoid raising cash during state budget deliberations.  

The Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee had organized a golf outing for June 15 in Wisconsin Dells. Speaker Mike Sheridan of Janesville and Majority Leader Tom Nelson of Kaukauna were planning to attend.  

Both Sheridan and Nelson helped pass an Assembly rule in February that forbids members to raise cash for their personal campaigns while the budget is in play.  

Their plans to attend the outing drew criticism. Sheridan issued a statement Monday evening saying Democrats must avoid doing anything that would call the rule into question. 

Will ‘Supercaffeinated’ Terry McAuliffe Lose Today In Virginia?

We here at Caffeinated Politics sure hope so.  Not because he is ‘supercaffeinated’, (but I do like that description) but because I think of him as smarmy and arrogant, and too easily swayed from principle all in the name of a win.  That is not my style of politics.  And I trust it will not be the Virginia way either.

When Virginia voters go to the polls Tuesday in the Democratic primary for governor, they will choose among three candidates who have distinguished themselves more by personality than politics during the fight to continue their party’s recent winning streak in this historically conservative state.

The candidates are Terry McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee; State Senator R. Creigh Deeds; and Brian J. Moran, a former member of the House of Delegates. The winner will oppose the Republican candidate, Robert F. McDonnell, in November. Mr. McDonnell, a former state legislator, was Virginia’s attorney general until he resigned in February to seek the governorship.

The incumbent governor, Tim Kaine, a Democrat, is prevented by law from seeking a consecutive term.

The race is one of two elections for governor this year — the other is in New Jersey — and both national parties are strongly involved.

A close ally of Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. McAuliffe, 52, is a multimillionaire businessman with an outsize personality who held an early lead in statewide polls based largely on his ability to out-talk and outspend his opponents.

But his supercaffeinated style, dependence on out-of-state donors and lack of experience in state politics have undercut his popularity among some voters and undermined his claim that his national stature makes him the man to beat Mr. McDonnell.

First Detainee From Guantanamo Bay Prison Transferred To America

As it should be.

The United States transferred the first detainee from the Guantanamo Bay prison on Tuesday to stand trial in a U.S. civilian court in a test case for President Barack Obama’s plans to close the controversial prison for foreign terrorism suspects.

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian held at the U.S. naval base in Cuba since 2006 accused of involvement in the bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa, arrived in New York escorted by U.S. marshals, the Department of Justice said.

Ghailani faces 286 counts, including charges of conspiring with Osama bin Laden and other members of al Qaeda to kill Americans anywhere in the world, and separate charges of murder for each of the 224 people killed in the bombings in Tanzania and Kenya on August 7, 1998.

He was to be arraigned in a Manhattan court at 4 p.m. EDT.

I strongly agree with the Obama White House on this matter.

The administration view: “The Southern District of New York has a long record of successfully prosecuting terror cases. … In order to close the Guantanamo Bay facility and to strengthen our security, we must break the logjam that has kept the detainees in legal limbo since its construction. For over seven years, we have detained hundreds of people at Guantanamo. … Today represents a significant step forward in bringing swift and certain justice to the detainees at Guantanamo. And it is a first step. Experienced prosecutors continue to review the status of each detainee at Guantanamo, and there will be more indictments and trials in the weeks to come for those who have committed crimes against the United States or conspired to.”