VIDEO: Gun Violence Starts Morning As Two TV Journalists Shot Dead On Air

Out of control gun violence again makes news as two television journalists were shot dead on the air this morning in Virginia.

To say this is shocking and sickening is like spitting into the wind that blows off Lake Monona.    We all should be outraged and royally pissed off that this bloody senseless slaughter continues because some whiney NRA types can not fathom how to deal with their short penis and so need to carry weapons.   I am not sure what needs to happen to wake this nation up.

For now WDBJ7 TV reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were killed during an interview in Moneta, Bedford County.  They paid the price so the NRA can tout their lies and spin their crap.

We must do better as a nation to stop this violence from guns.

Jack Ryan’s Creator’s Family Has Upside Down Tax Bill Story

This is simply unbelievableThere will be–must be–an appeal.

I simply loved the creation of Jack Ryan.

I have told the story before on this blog, and in my book Walking Up The Ramp of reading Hunt For Red October in the fall of 1994 while working at putting my life back in order after leaving the Wisconsin Statehouse.  It was the first non-fiction book I had read in well over a decade.  I was taken in my Jack Ryan and read over the next many months every book in the series that was printed.  It was a workout given the length of Clancy’s works.

So today when I read how his sons were screwed on the estate taxes it made me blink a few times.  The second wife needs to be taxed and this matter needs to be appealed.

Tom Clancy’s widow has scored a legal victory in a long-running dispute over who should foot the hefty taxes on the best-selling author’s $86 million estate, which largely comes from a minority share of the Baltimore Orioles and includes a rare World War II tank.

Siding with Alexandra Clancy, a Baltimore judge ruled Friday that no taxes will come from the two-thirds share of the estate of which she is sole or main beneficiary. Instead, he ruled the entire $11.8 million tax bill is to be borne by the roughly $28.5 million trust that Mr. Clancy, who died in 2013, left his four adult children from his first marriage—a 41% tax hit.


The four children wanted the tax bill split evenly between their trust and a family trust of which Ms. Clancy is the main beneficiary. That would have raised the overall estate taxes to $15.7 million and divided it between the two sides at $7.85 million apiece.

If the judge’s ruling survives a potential appeal, Ms. Clancy would avoid paying the $7.85 million, while the adult children would owe nearly $4 million more than if they had prevailed in the case.

News To Ponder About (If You Can Get Past Donald Trump)

Today one of those articles that was designed to make for long-term pondering was printed in The Wall Street Journal.  Saudi Arabia and the price of oil on the world market is more than just about the price of gas at the local station.  This is world economics and geo-political nuts and bolts that impacts everything we read about on a daily basis.  The impact of any decision that does or does not get made to stabilize oil prices is stuff we need to be talking about in the presidential elections.

On Monday, Iran, another OPEC member, said it would welcome an emergency meeting of the group, even as it restated vows to boost its own production as soon as international sanctions are lifted, possibly later this year.

Those calls are aimed directly at Saudi Arabia, the only country capable of leading an effort to restrain production. Even Saudi Arabia’s short-term fortunes are taking a beating. The country is now expected to run a budget deficit as large as $150 billion, or about 20% of its gross domestic product, this year, compared with only 3% last year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Saudi Arabia’s determination to keep pumping away had largely been focused on how the resulting lower prices would whittle away at supply as higher-cost projects are delayed and canceled. That is happening, though far less quickly than many predicted.

But the other pillar of the Saudi strategy is that demand would increase steadily in response to lower prices. That, so far, has been taken almost for granted. The International Energy Agency this month said total demand accelerated almost sixfold from the first half of last year to the same period this year, as the global economy expanded and consumers used more of the cheaper fuel.

The world’s largest exporter of oil accelerated a decline of crude prices last November when it decided to aggressively pump even more oil into an already oversupplied market. That set off a global production race, further expanding supply and filling storage tanks around the world.

The strategy was deliberate: Scramble for market share now, so when supply tapers off later as high-cost producers cry uncle the kingdom, and any others left standing, reap the rewards of increasing demand. The problem now: Demand, at least in the world’s biggest consumer of oil, China, may not increase anywhere near as fast as expected.

Joe Biden Can Save Democratic Party In 2016

I like Joe Biden. Always have.

In August 2008 I wrote the following about Biden.

I have long thought Senator Joe Biden to be a smart and capable man.   In 1987 I supported him financially when he sought the Democratic Party nomination for the White House.  One can never forget his earnestness in fighting the atrocities that were taking place in the Balkans, or his great work on the Judiciary Committee in stopping Robert Bork from getting to the Supreme Court.  His background and breadth of knowledge on international issues makes him a seasoned and remarkable public servant.  Now the latest information in the news makes Biden seem to be the likely pick of Barack Obama as the V.P. nominee.  I will be wildly delighted it this finally happens.

I supported Biden’s efforts in the past to run for the White House as I admire his brand of Democratic politics. He is the type of Democrat I grew up with as a teenager and the type that best speaks to the needs of the nation.

I was very pleased with the way the White House made their blessings known about Biden through the president’s spokesman. There is no way to know how much more political harm will await Hillary Clinton over the email mess—a mess made of her own flaunting of the rules and her inability to set the record straight with the facts—and that is why the White House is getting the trains assembled for a possible campaign by the vice-president.

I am most pleased with how this is all taking place. Let the facts surrounding Hillary set the timetable for Biden to enter the race.

Today the Washington Post had a must read about why Biden would be the best general election candidate. Given the level of crazy coming from the GOP there is every reason for Biden to be expecting good things should a matchup of this type take place.

Biden is what Trump pretends to be: a garrulous, blunt, down-to-earth guy who loves politics and people and tells it like it is, sometimes to a fault. He’s even got that weird hair thing going.

The difference is that Biden is the real deal. He has a lifetime of public service to back up his blarney and braggadocio. He has been in the arena of public policy nearly his whole life, serving the public while Trump was squiring around movie stars, navigating four of his companies through bankruptcy, and flaunting his billionaire lifestyle.

Trump’s weaknesses become clear when he’s compared to Biden, in a way that is less true with most of the Republican candidates or Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. To many Americans, these other candidates represent the double-speak and insincerity of modern politics. Biden is a throwback to a different campaign era.

Biden has one more trait that distinguishes him from the glib and bullying Trump. He is a man with a moral center that was forged in two great personal tragedies—the death in a car wreck of his first wife and one-year-old daughter in 1972, and the loss of his son Beau to brain cancer this year. He bore both tragedies nobly, in a way that inspired his colleagues and the country.

The qualities that make Biden admirable can be summed up in the sentences that Matt Damon’s character speaks at the end of “Saving Private Ryan,” to express what he hopes he has accomplished: “Tell me I have led a good life….Tell me I’m a good man.” Few of us would measure up to that standard, but I suspect most us would say that Biden does, and Trump doesn’t.

Too Many Drinking Establishments On Williamson Street In Madison

Since these days are making for perfect summer walking conditions here is an instructive way to view the problem with too many drinking establishments on the long stretch of Williamson Street.   Start at Gateway Mall at John Nolen and walk to the Yahara River and jot down with a mark on a notepad every place you can buy a beer or shot of whiskey.   Add in the proposed new drinking spots.  The number will astound any rational thinking person.
The problem with this whole matter is rooted in our culture and what we have come to accept as the normal way to ‘go out and have a good time.’    Consider that we even base the success of local festivals on the number of beer sales!  Seems that is a twisted way to raise money for childrens’ programs in the neighborhood.
When a young man who was seriously intoxicated several years ago was shot and killed I thought perhaps as a community we could come together and focus on bars who over-serve customers and also start a serious dialogue on the number of drinking establishments we want to have in this mixed-use neighborhood.   Clearly my idea landed with a thud as resounding as the empting of beer bottles behind a bar at 3:00 A.M.  Too many wanted to talk about police misconduct and not address the 800 pound gorilla in the room that was the bar who over-served this young man.
The problem we face does not start with a business model that relies on alcohol sales but rather begins with the face that greets you in the mirror each morning.   For too long too many have just accepted that we need to have alcohol at every place food is served or we have allowed eating places to be the cover for just another places to sell a drink.  We all are a part of the problem and now need to own it.
The question remains what will we now do as a community to face it?

Donald Trump Would Even Scare Pope Francis

Can you even image Pope Francis allowing a visit from Donald Trump?

So having said that.

Donald Trump was asked by Chris Cuomo on CNN how he would respond if Pope Francis told him that capitalism can be toxic.

Said Trump: “I’d say, ‘ISIS wants to get you. You know that ISIS wants to go in and take over the Vatican? You have heard that. You know, that’s a dream of theirs, to go into Italy.”

Cuomo, taken aback, asked if Trump would actually scare the Pope, who is coming to the U.S. for his first visit next month.

Said Trump: “I’m gonna have to scare the Pope because it’s the only thing.”

At this point the Pope would throw holy water on Trump’s head and that mass of god-only-knows-what would start to burn and sizzle.

Tom Brokaw Nails The Truth About Donald Trump’s Downfall

I have been as flummoxed as every other political observer over the rise of Donald Trump and his ability to stay at the top of polls in state after state.   And Like many others I subscribe to some rules of the road that exist in politics just like gravity controls where an apple lands when it falls.   The middle holds–the establishment prevails, etc.  I  still believe that people–for whatever they bluster during a campaign season–take their vote seriously and want a serious president.  They will never cast a winning vote in the general election for someone who can not fulfill the duties of the Oval Office.

In other words Donald Trump can never win the White House.

Still I am totally amazed and admittedly upset at times as I watch this Trump drama unfold that someone with no policy credentials to his name can land at the top of the polls.  As such I read a lot and try to better understand what is happening.  I can not say any of it makes sense even weeks into this chaos.   (So people are angry about government.  Do something productive instead of applauding a buffoon.)  I just can not get my head around what makes for headlines these days.

Which leads me to the following.

It took me all the way to the end of a very long (and great) article this morning to land upon the words in the final paragraphs from former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw.

“In politics, particularly presidential races, my oft repeated mantra is the UFO rule. At some point, the unforeseen will occur,” Tom Brokaw, the veteran NBC News anchor who has covered presidential elections dating back to Johnson vs. Goldwater.  

“Gary Hart and Monkey Business, Dukakis failing to defend Kitty, Bush 41 and the Perot factor. What the UFO will be this time, I don’t know yet, but there will be one — and not just for Trump,” he said. “All the candidates in both parties are vulnerable.”

We know it is coming and for Trump deservedly so. 

47 Years Ago Today