Merry Christmas From Caffeinated Politics

Another Plug For The Days Of The Party Line

I remember the party line in Hancock, as does James who enjoyed them in Maine.    I smiled today when reading Door County’s Keta Steebs, and agree with her completely.

What I can’t do is take the telephone ordeal in stride. I no longer naively expect to hear a live human voice on the other end but I do expect to someday master the infamous “menu” we are expected to plow through before getting to the right department if not the right person. Today’s menus even have menus — just when you laboriously get through to the elusive Complaint Department, you are given another 10 options to choose the complaint you have in mind. If yours isn’t one of them, you then have the privilege of listening to rock music until the complaint-taker is tracked down (some place in India, I suspect).

Actually, when it comes to speedy communication, nothing beats the party line we Coolidge-age kids grew up with. If you were lucky enough to be on a four-party line, there was nothing you wouldn’t know after four hours of listening. Eavesdropping in my day was as common as hacking is today — with equally juicy results.

Another thing I’ve noticed about this new century of ours is that it isn’t nearly as much fun to be in as the old one was. In the old one, I had a job I loved, night parties to attend, shopping expeditions (in two-story stores) and talks with people who sounded the ‘g’ at the end of words.

The ‘g’ thing bugs me too.

Will Wisconsin Collective Bargaining Be Heard Again Before Supreme Court?

Will Justice David Prosser try to strangle another member of the Court as tensions mount over collective bargaining?

Will Michael Gableman feel any sense of shame and remorse for his actions which leads to the story today out of Dane County?  Will Gableman, who I contend is more intellectually comfortable with crayons than legal briefs, even feel a tinge of guilt for being on the Supreme Court, and well above his capabilities as a person?

So many questions.

This is a most remarkable story, and one that has huge ramifications for the state and the political environment.  As with almost every other turn this year that has created all sorts of political chaos, this latest episode in Wisconsin again demonstrates the GOP is the root cause of the problems. 

If the Republicans would just accept a fair and ethical way to proceed with the conduct of their offices, be it on the Supreme Court or in the Governor’s Office, these matters would never have happened. 

I made it clear how I felt about the latest ethical problems with Gableman, and that there was reason for concern with his actions.

But due to greedy power plays, and over-reaches Wisconsin is once more in the midst of chaos over the collective bargaining bill.

The Dane County district attorney is considering asking the state Supreme Court to reopen his case over collective bargaining legislation without Justice Michael Gableman after learning that Gableman received two years of free legal service from an attorney involved in the case.

“We’re taking a hard look at it,” District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said Thursday. “I don’t think we have all the facts, but the ones we do have are concerning.”

Ozanne, a Democrat, said he would make a decision on what to do quickly, but declined to provide a more specific time frame.

The law firm Michael Best & Friedrich recently disclosed Gableman did not pay for legal work the firm did for him from July 2008 to July 2010 as Gableman fought an ethics charge. They had a deal that said the firm would get paid only if Gableman prevailed in the ethics case and was able to persuade the state to pay his attorney fees.

The Supreme Court split 3-3 last year on the ethics charge. That meant Gableman was not found to have violated the ethics code, but because he did not win he was prevented from asking for legal fees from the state.

Republicans Double-Down On Speaker Boehner Over Payroll Tax Cut

Ouch.  From Politico

The Republicans are getting tarred over this matter, and rightly so.  They walked into their own political trap and now want everyone else to let them go.  Isn’t going to happen.  The House Republicans are going to have to come to terms with the importance of governing.  That is why they wanted to be elected, right?  Or was it to just blow up bridges?  The teabaggers are learning a lesson, and I might add so are those other Republicans who used that odious Tea Party element their own political ends.

In a blow to House Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has called on the House to pass a two-month extension of the payroll tax bill, with a push to use the extra time to negotiate a full year extension. McConnell is also requesting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appoint conferees to negotiate a longer-term bill. “The House should pass an extension that locks in the thousands of Keystone XL pipeline jobs, prevents any disruption in the payroll tax holiday or other expiring provisions, and allows Congress to work on a solution for the longer extensions,” McConnell said in a Thursday statement.

Reid later released a statement promising that he will be “happy to restart the negotiating process to forge a year-long extension” as soon as the House passes the Senate’s two-month compromise deal.