How Long Before Alabama’s Aging Lothario–Governor Robert Bentley–Resigns?

There is a clock ticking in Alabama.    The man who loved to hold the breasts of his mistress is surely knowing the days for his term in the governor’s mansion of Alabama are coming to a close.

Governor Robert Bentley is neck deep in a political firestorm that is rocking his state following the allegations of an affair with a top aide.   As all those in public life do when confronted with the breaking of marriage vows the governor denied the affair.

Well isn’t that special!

Meanwhile his senior advisor whose breasts he loved to hold–as heard about in the released secret audio recording–did resign.

And now there is vocal outpouring around the southern state for the 73-year old governor to resign, too.

At the heart of this matter are the sexually charged texts and recordings that showed the governor was having an affair two years ago.    The legal part of this–the criminal part I should underscore–would be if our aging lover-boy used state resources or campaign funds to facilitate a relationship.

So why should we care about this?

Because here is one more stark reminder about conservative Republicans who run a family-oriented campaign to win election and then find it hard to keep their zipper in the upright position.  At the time of the affair this man–a deacon at his Baptist church–was still married.  His wife of 50 years filed for divorce from the old coot and for that this blogger gives a tip of the hat for making the correct call.

There is no way this man keeps the reins of power in Alabama.  He will be out of office in short order.

He has to smell the scent of political outrage when even state lawmakers from his own Republican party say they’ll draft recall or impeachment measures.  Ouch!  That must sting as much as getting your willy caught up in a statewide sex scandal.

Bye, Bye.

Donald Trump Should Keep His Damn Hands Off Women’s Reproduction Rights!

I can honestly say that never in my lifetime have I ever witnessed any political campaign like that of Donald Trump.  Just when there was no way it could get stranger or more outlandish–it does!

Today Donald Trump when pressed to speak more fully about his support for a ban on abortion and what it would mean in practice, said that “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions.

There is no meter in America that registers political outrage.  But if there were the needle would not only have hit the red zone but busted through the metal covering of the machine.  The fallout from this on both sides of the political aisle will be so large and damaging that there will not be one low-ballot candidate who will desire having Trump as the party nominee.

Women already despise Trump and this latest bizarre remark about women who choose to have an abortion will pound every last nail into his political coffin.

When MSNBC’s Chris Matthews asked how Trump would enforce a ban on  abortion Trump–well—left reality.

“I am pro-life,” Trump said after a few attempts. Asked how an abortion ban would be put in place, he said, “You go back to a position like they had where they would perhaps go to illegal places.  But you have to ban it.”

Finally, Matthews asked Trump, “You’re about to be chief executive of the United States. Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no?

Trump responded, “The answer is there has to be some form of punishment.”

“Ten days?” Matthews asked. “Ten years?”

Trump replied: “I don’t know,” adding It’s a very complicated position.”

No, in fact it is not complicated.

Just leave your damn hands off of women’s reproductive rights!

Wisconsin Poll Shows Donald Trump May Face Major Loss In Wisconsin Primary

It is no secret that I have no time for Ted Cruz.  He is a dis-credited and despised senator who is loathed by those who know him, and is a sinister and mean-spirited conservative.  Still, I find him useful in the Wisconsin primary.

That is because Donald Trump is the most dangerous person running for president in my lifetime and must be stopped.  Cruz seems about to further that process in the April 5th election.

Today the latest Marquette Law School Poll was released and it shows what we need to hear.  Cruz has leaped ahead of GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.

Cruz received support from 40 percent of likely Republican voters, Trump received 30 percent and Ohio Gov. John Kasich trailed with 21 percent.

On the Democratic side, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders leads frontrunner Hillary Clinton, 49-45.

Teddy White Would Have Loved Being In Wisconsin This Week

This week I sat in one of those wonderful diners in Wisconsin where the pies are homemade and come with that special baker’s sugar on the top crust.  The waitress was a local woman who offered as many smiles as she did refills of beverages.   She may never have seen me before but like in diners everywhere there are no strangers.  The one on the outskirts of Plainfield is no exception.

Everyone seemed to know one another and greeted each other with either a nod of the head or an extended hand.  As I looked at all the good-natured folks I wished to have been able to slide into a chair and have a conversation about the way they view the presidential election landscape.

After all it will be these types of voters–average mom-and-dad types–who will sway the outcome in the April 5th primary.  The success of Donald Trump or Ted Cruz hangs in the hands of people who spooned chicken noodle soup or decided on meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  The degree to which Hillary Clinton wins or losses will be left up to the ones who just sipped their final cup of coffee or decided to add some ice cream to their bill.

Real Wisconsinites are about to play a crucial role in American politics.  As I scanned the people in the diner, but also kept current on the conversations with those at my table, my mind momentarily thought of Teddy White.  This diner would have been his type of place to scour for hints of what voters were planning to do in the privacy of the voting booth in just a matter of days.

Most politicos have read White’s classic retellings of presidential races with vivid insights found in the Making Of The President series.  There had been no other such richly penned attempt before White decided to write a book in 1960 about the life of a campaign and the ways voters come to their conclusion about who to support.  White was a trailblazer for his profession.

It was not only the story he told that impacted me but the way he penned his words.

Speaking of the 1960 Wisconsin primary he noted that John Kennedy stopped at a diner in Phillips.  There seemed to not have been much interest in his offered hand or introduction.   White sums up the stop with a line that is representative of his grand style of writing.

He left the town shortly after noon and the town was as careless of his presence as of a cold wind passing through.

One can only imagine what White would write or reflect on this year given all the upside-down, inside-out, twists and turns of this election cycle.

We have Trump trashing Walker in spite of the fact among hard core conservative voters the governor still is highly respected.  Then to add more questionable behavior Trump seems more than willing to continue making waves with House Speaker Paul Ryan.    As if that is not enough the billionaire speaks at length on CNN how core principles of the Republican Party are not where he stands on the issues.    Be it trade or taxes or health care there is a wide and seemingly growing divide between Trump and the party he wishes to lead.

Meanwhile Democrats are in a bruising fight over the best path to impact our nation’s future.  The pragmatic and skilled approach of Hillary Clinton versus the more raucous and feel-good path espoused by Bernie Sanders.   One can sense at times the same under-currents of disdain for the establishment element of the Democrats that are on full display within the GOP.

These are the personalities and battles which White would have examined and tried to expose with his sharp eye, keen analysis, and pithy writing.  He would have loved the chance to drink coffee with the diners in Plainfield.

He surely would have noted there are not many converts to sway at this point.  But with a smile he would add the political landscape in Wisconsin is so rich and potent this year that the challenge is not to sway anyone as much as just enjoy the show.  For it is a large, messy, chaotic, and marvelous campaign we get to view up close.

Recalling Gun Violence From 35 Years Ago Today

Folks my age will not forget where we were or what was happening when we heard the news.

For Jim Brady he was living his dream while serving as the White House Press Secretary to a freshly elected President Ronald Reagan.   I have always felt other than being president the next best job would be the press secretary. The people who fill that role from both sides of the aisle are among my favorites from over the decades.   I always await their books about the time spent in the press room.

I was at our family home in Hancock, Wisconsin 35 years ago today and heard the first report of a shooting attempt on the president while listening to a Chicago radio station.    We at once switched on the television and the day went truly dark for America.

There it was caught on camera as Reagan and Brady exited an event in Washington D.C. at 2:27 p.m. on March 30, 1981.  We saw the horror caused by a gun as the assassination attempt struck Reagan and would lead to Brady being paralyzed for the rest of his life.

At the time, absolutely anyone — and I mean anyone—from a convicted felon to a person with a dangerous mental illness — could walk into any store that sold guns and buy one with no background check. That’s how the would-be assassin got his gun.  He simply walked into a pawn shop and bought it.  No one questioned him in spite of his history of mental illness and run-ins with law enforcement.

The lesson from that event 35 years ago today is that people looked at what happened and said there must be changes.   We all are aware of how Jim Brady and his wife Sarah turned their personal tragedy into a national resolve to make changes in our gun laws.  That same mission is ours too as the gun violence continues and the political institutions seem unable and more importantly unwilling to pass strong, sensible gun laws.

But we need to stay focused and never forget the good that can come from working for such laws.  After all when people work for sanity it can happen.  I think it worthy of a moment today to look on the crowning achievement, the Brady Law, which saved countless lives and blocked more than 2.6 million gun sales to prohibited purchasers.  The very type of law that would have made it not possible for the man who tried to kill President Reagan and Brady from getting a gun.

I mention this all to add some historical memory to this day, and also call attention to the needs we still face with our gun laws.

Union Victory At Supreme Court Due To Vacancy

There was a much needed victory at the Supreme Court today.  Due to the tie vote the court handed a win to labor unions in a high-profile dispute over their ability to collect union fees.

Today the justices divided 4-4 in a case that considered whether public employees represented by a union can be required to pay ‘fair share’ fees covering collective bargaining costs even if they are not members. The split vote leaves in place an appeals court ruling that upheld the practice.

It may not be the best way to secure a win, but after the partisan hell that working men and women have had to endure I say we smile and applaud.

Make no mistake about this matter.  Had Justice Scalia lived organized labor would have taken it on the chin in an almost certain 5-4 ruling that would have overturned a practice in place for nearly 40 years.

Hatred for the unions among conservatives will have to wait for another case to make it to the high bench.

First Decorah Eaglet Of 2016 Season Hatches

Catch all the action on the Eagle Cam.

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F-16 Fighters Go Into ‘Missing Man’ Formation Over Monona, East Madison

My view of the event as seen from B.B. Clarke Beach.

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Four F-16 fighter jets flew over the funeral today for former U.S. Air Force colonel Donald Heiliger, flying in a “missing man” formation in which one of the jets peels away to honor the former flier who was held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam for nearly six years.

Heiliger, 79, retired in 1985 after logging more than 3,000 flying hours in the Air Force. He piloted an F-105 Thunderchief fighter in the Vietnam War, before getting shot down and taken prisoner in North Vietnam in 1967. He was released on Feb. 18, 1973.

The Fighting Falcon aircraft are from the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing, did a single, low-altitude pass over Monona and the East Side of Madison.