Louisiana To Vote On Becoming Even More Gun Crazy

There is a ballot initiative in Louisiana that is so crazy that it deserves some attention on a Wisconsin blog.

Louisiana is not known for its cerebral approach to many issues, but this one regarding guns is truly absurd.

In a nutshell the state legislature proposed a constitutional amendment that any law
restricting the right to keep and bear arms would be “subject to strict
scrutiny,” meaning any attempt to restrict gun laws would become more difficult
and that it could be nearly impossible to prohibit concealed carry.

So, if a child care center did not want to have some gun-toting fool entering their operation they would have no ability under this proposal from preventing it.

To play to the three-thumb crowd Louisiana Governor Jindal has said this matter is so grave that the Second Amendment “hangs in the balance.”  Might not clean water and better schools be more important to a state that in some case resembles the land that time forgot.

What in hell is wrong with people, especially conservatives who tout local control and then want to restrict the rights of business people from safeguarding their clients and customers from gun violence?

So prepare to have college kids armed and packing heat in the classrooms, because there is nothing that will prevent that from happening if this proposal passes next Tuesday.

While proponents of this measure would snort at the perspective I have for the liberal nature of how this proposal will work, concerned citizens in Louisiana understand fully that the threat exists to make the concealed law resemble Swiss cheese.

Privately it seems that some gun owners are concerned too, as they fear someone who is challenged in say, a classroom, over a gun will file a lawsuit and then perhaps a restriction will be placed by a court  for a much higher standard of scrutiny over the whole issue.

There are enough guns in Louisiana, and enough deaths from them.

Lets hope sanity takes hold and somehow this proposal fails.

However, given this balloting is taking place in Louisiana there is a better chance that America first elects Mitt Romney to the White House.

Too Many U.S. Senate Ads In Wisconsin Have Been Aired

This one paragraph says it all for the voters who are just plain sick and tired of the campaign ads between the two senate hopefuls in Wisconsin.

A report last week by the Wesleyan Media Project said the  Wisconsin Senate race saw the second-highest total of commercial television ads  among all Senate races during the first three weeks of October. There were  17,906 in all: 9,780 for Baldwin, 8,126 for Thompson. According to Kantar Media CMAG as reported on JSOnline, 99  percent have been negative.

Homophobic Language On Twitter

The Economist has an interesting article about words.  In this case the number of homophobic words used daily on Twitter.

The website is charitable: it doesn’t assume that the tweets are meant to be hurtful. Instead, it aims to spotlight “casual homophobia”—the unknowing, but still harmful, use of derogatory language. “Faggot” and “that’s so gay”, staple taunts in high schools across America, are some of the terms tracked on the site. But the website’s moderators at the University of Alberta are clear about casual homophobia’s impact:

Words and phrases like “faggot,” “dyke,” “no homo,” and “so gay” are used casually in everyday language, despite promoting the continued alienation, isolation and — in some tragic cases — suicide of sexual and gender minority (LGBTQ) youth.

There are some spikes and drops documented by the website—for example, August 13th saw a sharp increase in the instance of “dyke”; August 22nd, “faggot”—but they don’t appear to clearly match real-world events, perhaps underscoring the fickle nature of this sort of language.



National Unwatering SWAT Team

Hat Tip To Rolf.

At lunch I asked the question about how does a place like New York City start to deal with the water and mud that has plagued their streets and subways.

Then came the answer in an email from Rolf who read an interesting article, and knew we would like to see it.  Little could he have known, it also answered a lunch time question.

National Unwatering SWAT teams.

The team of four expert engineers left for New York City this afternoon and are expected to arrive between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time. Delt said they are the finest unwatering experts in the country, given their experience in dewatering the inundated areas of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. “They’re subject experts,” he said. “They can’t do all of the work themselves but they can advise the other people in New York.”

The team’s tools consist of trailer-mounted trash pumps with discharge pipes 8 to 16 inches in diameter. The engine-driven self-priming pumps can pass water and even golf ball-sized debris. And if the task is too big, they can resort to less mobile pumps with discharge pipes ranging from 16 to 40 inches. The size of the pump depends on the scale of the problem. Delt said a 30-foot hole filled with water is one thing, but if that 30 foot hole is filled with water and leads to a whole subway system that stretches for miles under ground, it’s a much bigger effort.

Then there’s the issue of what to do with the water once you’ve moved it out of that hole. “You don’t want to just dump it in the nearest gutter,” he said. “You have to find out how far horizontally you want to pump it,” in order for the water to wind up back in the ocean.


What Would Loosen Up President Obama?

I very much enjoy the books authored by John Grisham, and am looking forward to reading his latest ‘The Racketeer”.

Last week there was an interview conducted for The New York Times where Grisham was asked a series of questions which included what writer, dead or alive, he would like to meet.  Mark Twain, he stated, when the famed author was about 40 years old.

But it was Grisham’s response to what book should be required reading by President Obama that made me laugh.

“Fifty Shades of Grey.” Why should he miss all the fun? Plus, it might loosen him up a bit

President Obama Opens Wide Lead In Wisconsin According To Marquette Law School

It should be noted for newbies that the Marquette Law School polls are spot on and have been a most reliable indicator during the entire collective bargaining recall elections in Wisconsin. Charles Franklin is a statewide gem, even when he had the GOP leading in the polls with collective bargaining.

This is the type of news that most of us were expecting, and hoping when it came to Wisconsin and the presidential election.  If for some reason Ohio was placed in the win column for Mitt Romney (which will not happen) then it would be essential for Wisconsin and Iowa to be in the GOP win list.  Iowa is not going Republican, and Wisconsin will remain blue–and Romney can finally get off the national stage of politics.

This race is still tight and needs to be fought on all levels, with every voter doing their duty to the Democratic Party—but I hear a fat lady warming up off in the distance.

I have always felt that President Obama would win in Wisconsin, but am not yet ready to predict that Democratic senate candidate Tammy Baldwin will win her race.

A new Marquette Law School Poll finds President Barack Obama leading former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney 51 percent to 43 percent among likely voters in Wisconsin. Five percent remain undecided or declined to state a preference, while 1 percent said that they would vote for a third party. Two weeks ago, before the second and third presidential debates, the poll found Obama at 49 percent to Romney’s 48 percent. In the U.S. Senate election, Representative Tammy Baldwin holds 47 percent to former governor Tommy Thompson’s 43 percent, with 10 percent undecided or  not offering a preference. In the previous poll, Thompson received 46 percent and Baldwin 45 percent.

Governor Walker Has Another Constitutional Hurdle To Deal With

Following the news Tuesday one has to wonder if there was any thought given prior to pushing the legislative agenda for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to the matter of the constitutionality of the policy items.  From the flawed voter ID law to the most controversial collective bargaining law there has been a constant stream of court cases, and legal rulings that underscore a political problem for the Republicans.

Partisan over-reach may seem like a wonderful thing when the newness of having legislative majorities in each house, along with a freshly elected governor of the same party still hangs in the air.  But there is a price to be paid when the most partisan somehow are able to get their goals achieved.  As the past months have shown there needs to be some reasonable minds brought to the table in order to temper the partisanship and craft sensible legislation.

The latest embarrassment to Walker, which was also a needed victory for state residents, came Tuesday when  a portion of a law giving Walker veto powers over rules written by the state schools superintendent was struck down by a Dane County judge.

At the heart of the matter is a process question that was never sexy enough to get the needed coverage in the media during the time it was deliberated in 2011, but found traction when it was framed within a lawsuit concerning the Department of Public Instruction.

There was every reason to challenge the law that gave Walker the power to veto administrative rules written by any state agency.  That is a dreadful way for the executive to rule, and undermines the very balanced and thoughtful legislative rule-making process that has served the needs of the state for a very long time.  (I worked in the office of one of the co-chairs of JCRAR, and can attest to the fact the process was a respected and efficient way to deal with administrative rules.)

The process that I know to have worked consisted of administrative rules being crafted by state agencies and then sent to the legislative committees for review.  If there were problems hearings would be held, and a consensus on how to deal with them would be found.  But under this heavy-handed, control-it-from-the-top notion of govenment Walker can sign off on rules before sending them to the lawmakers.  That concentrates too much power in the hands of the executive.

Tuesday a judge handed down the first ruling on this matter, and it struck to the heart of the issue.

Circuit Judge Amy Smith ruled that the law violated the state constitution by giving Walker that power over the state Department of Public Instruction, which is headed by state schools Superintendent Tony Evers.

The constitution says that “the supervision of public instruction shall be vested in a state superintendent and such other officers as the Legislature shall direct.” In a 1996 decision referred to by Smith and the unions, the state Supreme Court held that lawmakers and the governor cannot give “equal or superior authority” over public education to any other official.

Finding taxpayer money to continually defend the actions of Walker and the Republican legislature in court is foolish.  Might I suggest a weekend conference for Walker and GOP legislators to have the constitution explained to them.  That seems more fiscally prudent.

Keta Steebs Inducted Into The Milwaukee Press Club Media Hall of Fame

Keta Steebs is one of those unforgettable people.  I know.

This is not the first blog entry for Steebs, and it will not be the last.  But this one makes the point that she is truly remarkable.

A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee journalism student who interviewed Keta Steebs said Friday he can only hope to have the legacy and integrity that she has had over a career.

Steebs, who has chronicled life in Door County for the Advocate for more than 40 years, was one of seven Wisconsin journalists inducted into the Milwaukee Press Club Media Hall of Fame during a banquet at the Potawatomi Casino’s Woodland Dreams Ballroom.

Steebs, 87, charmed the audience of more than 150 with her short speech packed with her trademark wry wit, opening with a phrase she attributed to “Abraham Lincoln, our 18th president,” pausing and then adding, “I need to see how many of you are listening.” 

She noted she was born “four score and seven years ago” as a “bounding baby 12-pound girl, whom the doctor, Dr. Libby (no relation to the frozen food people) said would go far someday – ‘With a mouth like that she’ll make herself heard.’” 

Joining the Door County Advocate in 1969 launched a career as a reporter and columnist acknowledged earlier this year, when a panel of local historians chose Steebs as “one of 150 who shaped Door County” as part of the Advocate’s 150th anniversary edition. The Wisconsin Newspaper Association has also honored her more than once as local columnist of the year. 

Not bad for someone whose Aunt Helen insisted would never amount to anything – although that assessment would end with “sort of an O. Henry twist” to it. 

“My aunt died literally laughing at something I had written,” Steebs deadpanned. “My cousin Doris told me, ‘That pleases me no end.’”