Exit Polls Show Major Mitt Romney Win in Florida GOP Primary

From the Drudge Report comes the exit polling data some two-hours prior to the polls closing in Florida’s Republican Primary.  It will be a major victory in a big important electoral state for Mitt Romney.  Newt Gingrich gets shucked like an ear of corn tonight.


Buds Sprout In Madison As Temps Feel Like Spring

While sunny skies and warm temperatures made for lots of giddy people today there was one sign of spring that is just too early.  I noticed today that buds are prominent on some trees.    Pictured below are either buds on a Magnolia tree, or a Tulip Tree on Madison’s isthmus.  It is just way to early for these signs of warm weather.  After all, it is only January 31st, and this is still Wisconsin.  But this warm weather sure does feel nice!

Nancy Reagan Says Ronnie Did Not Pass Torch To Newt Gingrich

Another push-back from those who want Newt Gingrich to end his campaign.

Calling himself “the legitimate heir to the Reagan movement,” Newt Gingrich recently cited a 1995 speech by Nancy Reagan in which the former First Lady said that her husband “passed on the torch” to him.

“In 1995, Nancy Reagan at the Goldwater Institute was very generous,” Gingrich told voters in Florida on Sunday. “And she said ‘Just as Barry gave the torch to Ronny, Ronny has passed on the torch to Newt.’”

But as NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports, Gingrich appears to be taking that comment out of context.

Sources close to Nancy Reagan said the speech itself was written by the host at the Goldwater Organization – where Mrs. Reagan delivered the remarks – and that she was referring generally to Congress and not specifically to the former Speaker, Mitchell reported on her MSNBC program.

Tracking Image

Grand Old Stage At Ryman Auditorium To Be Removed, New One Installed

This is one of those stories that makes sense on the one hand, but is filled with sentimental attachment and difficulty on the other hand.

The famed stage of the legendary Ryman Auditorium where the longest running radio show in America still is staged during the winter months, and broadcast over WSM will be getting a major make-over.   The place where Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, and Ernest Tubb sang and performed for many years will be removed and replaced.    The stage where the stars of classic county once stood will be gone.

The stage is to be replaced by a more durable Brazilian teak, though an 18-inch lip of the blonde oak at the front will be retained for history’s sake. The original hickory support beams underneath will be reinforced with concrete foundations, crossbeams and joist work that will help triple the load capacity.

Many years ago the curtain that goes up at the Opry was replaced, with the old one cut into small sections and used as additions to certain album purchases.  I own one of those sections, and posted about it in 2008.  It would be wonderful if the old stage could be cut up into small sections and either auctioned off, or placed for sale.  I have the perfect place to show it off at home, and hope that the Opry owners are thinking of making use of the old stage floor.

What a story that old wood could tell.

Recall Scott Walker Petitions Should Be Made Public

Late on Monday it was announced that the Government Accountability Board will not be putting the signatures of those who signed petitions to recall Governor Scott Walker on their website until privacy concerns are addressed.

There are those who will try to turn this matter of making the names public into a partisan matter.  But at the end of the day it is not a Republican vs. Democratic issue.  If people try to do this, regardless of party, they should be labeled as mere fans of partisanship.  The reason I say this so strongly is that there is a larger issue to be considered that rises above politics when it comes to the names of the petition signers.

At the end of the day the need for the names of those who petitioned their government to proceed with a recall of an elected official to be made public is to preserve an open and clean government.

I feel that when one lobbies in any fashion for the government to take an action that should be public knowledge.  Consider the opposite route.

The consequences of using clout and money to lobby in private runs counter to the larger openness that our government should strive to maintain.  If one follows this train of thought then it is only logical that the same holds true for the individual who signs a petition concerning a heated issue such as the recall of a sitting governor.

This really should not become a conservative vs. liberal issue in our state.  It would be sad if it does as it means we are even more partisan than I fear we have become.

I would hope that we all could rise to an understanding why a strict adherence to higher ideals about the need for openness when petitioning the government should be observed.  This seems to me one of those foundational cornerstones that makes our democracy credible.

If one can not stand in the light of day to their convictions that they petition the government about, then perhaps there is a problem with the position that they are privately taking.  That should be the model of our convictions today.  I am proud to have signed the petition and care not if it is printed in the press, or seen in the public square.

I understand that there are those who have made threats and are using office rumors to perhaps intimidate petition signers in the work place.  If there are threats made they should be reported to the authorities. (And the media.)

But the higher ideals of our state and the political process can not be made hostage to the fears of retaliation.  If that had been the case at the beginning of our national story Thomas Jefferson would never have set quill to parchment.

Would it not be great if in the face of this most partisan of moments in Wisconsin we all could recognize a higher calling and agree on one thing.

Let it be the need to strive to keep our government open and transparent, and therefore insure that the petition signers names are made public.

Why Should Taxpayers Bail Out Claudio Fernandez Of Deltona, Florida?

I have never been able to rationalize why the bad decisions of some home buyers like that described below should be the burden of the American taxpayer.    Too many people made really bad housing purchases based on greed, and now want the taxpayer to bail them out in one fashion or another.  I just have a very hard time understanding how that is a wise or prudent thing to do.

Over and over I have been a strong advocate of government intervention and regulation to smooth out inequalities, and remove injustices.  By so doing it allows for society to make progress, and the economy to grow. 

I was a strong supporter of  TARP which allowed for the banking system to not implode, and further damage the national economy. 

While I have sympathy for those who were suckered into bad housing deals, I also am aware from reading and watching that greed on the part of many buyers is a major factor for many of the cases that we hear about.  As a result, I just do not have the stomach for bailing out those who made bad choices—as in the case below where Claudio Fernandez bought TWO houses.

Why not half a dozen?

So the question has to be asked directly to Claudio Fernandez.  Why does the American taxpayer owe you anything for the decisions you made?

Mr. Fernandez thought he had secured a piece of the American dream for his two kids when he bought a pair of homes here in 2006 that he planned to rent out and eventually pass on to them. Then the housing market tanked, some of his renters lost their jobs and he had to tap his savings to cover his losses.

After two years of maddening negotiations with lenders, Mr. Fernandez says, he is about to lose one home in a short sale—in which the price is less than the money owed on the property—and is still trying to modify the loan on the second. In the process, he says he has lost nearly $50,000, taken on more debt and trashed his credit rating.

Though he mainly blames the banks and himself, he fumes at political leaders, too. “They bailed out business and Wall Street” but “failed to bail out the American citizen,” says Mr. Fernandez, a 43-year-old Republican who voted for President Barack Obama in 2008. Looking to November, he says, “if it’s the current field—Obama and these clowns in the Republican party—I’d rather not vote.” He has no plans to cast a ballot in Florida’s Republican primary on Tuesday

Guns Overturned Elections And Derailed Social Movements

Another national call for sanity.

This episode joins a long list of elections overturned and social movements derailed by men with guns, as in the shootings of Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, Huey Long, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, the Kennedy brothers, George Wallace, George Moscone, Harvey Milk, Martin Luther King, Jr. Somehow, people who should never have guns never have trouble getting them. John Kennedy’s assassin, a disaffected former Marine who had once defected to the Soviet Union, bought his by mail order.  King’s assassin, a wanted fugitive, bought his over the counter.


After all, the solution here is not rocket science.

We need meaningful background checks on all gun purchases — no loopholes. A mentally unstable man should not have legal access to a gun, period.

We need to ban fully automatic weapons from private use. The hunter who needs a gun that fires hundreds of rounds a minute isn’t much of a hunter.

We need to encourage gun safety classes so that poorly secured firearms stop ending up in the hands of little children.

At the very least, we need to have a serious national dialogue about these and other possible solutions.

Why Is Jeb Bush So Quiet During Florida Primary? Immigration.

There is a reason.  And a good one, too.

For years I have been fascinated by the lack of regard the Republican Party has for Hispanics, the largest growing segment of the electorate. From immigration bashing to still more immigration bashing the GOP seems not to understand that the political landscape is changing. Over the years I have wondered why so many in the GOP fail to realize that fact, or what it means to their electability in the years to come.

The size of the country’s fastest-growing group has increased 43% since 2000, and more than doubled since 1990, to 50.5 million last year, when Hispanics accounted for nearly one in six U.S. residents and for 23% of people under the age of 18.

Which leads us to the GOP Florida primary.

An unspoken question hovering over the Republican presidential race here is why Mr. Bush, the state’s popular former governor and heir to the nation’s aging political dynasty, has not added his voice to the party establishment’s support for Mr. Romney in his increasingly bitter duel with Newt Gingrich.

Mr. Bush has made clear in television interviews and in conversations with friends that he is troubled by the sharpening tenor of the race, particularly on immigration. He voiced his concern directly to Mr. Romney, two people close to him said, urging him to moderate his oratory and views to avoid a collapse of support among Hispanic voters in the general election.