On Wild Weather, Or, A Note To California

In our last conversation there was some mention of snow in my part of the world (the western slope of Washington’s Cascade Mountains); but all that water has instead been falling as rain the past few days...washing away all the snow that had accumulated in the lowlands...and much of the several feet of snow that has fallen in the mountains over the past two weeks. The result of all that water, all at once (many areas saw more than 10 inches of rain in 48 hours), has been a flood event unlike any I’ve seen in decades of living in this area. The Girlfriend’s Mother lives in San Diego (where she has had her own series of exciting emergency events); and to keep her reassured I sent along a note describing how it went—and for quite a few of us, how it’s still going. By the time I was done I realized I’d written a story—and that’s what I have for you today, Gentle Reader...a few words about Big Weather and how we deal with it.
Well, anyway, they come over to help us celebrate the Golden Wedding and it was pretty crimpy weather and the furnace don't seem to heat up no more like it used to and Mother made the remark that she hoped this winter wou

Blind support of militarism, Israeli or otherwise, is wrong

Update: Rights group: Israel uses white phosphorus in Gaza
Sunday, January 11, 2009 3:41 PM EST
The Associated Press
By JASON KEYSER Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM (AP) — Human Rights Watch said Sunday that Israel's military has fired artillery shells with the incendiary agent white phosphorus into Gaza and a doctor there said the chemical was suspected in the case of 10 burn victims who had skin peeling off their faces and bodies.

This is what Rep. Baldwin and others are supporting. It's wrong, period.

Government Transparency Timeline

Our good buddies over at the Sunlight Foundation have put together a very nice tool on US Government transparency.   If you're as interested in this as I am, you'll find this an interesting way to spend a little time.  The tool gives you a timeline of transparency as implemented in the federal government, and gives you an opportunity to modify it to your own tastes.

Neo-NAZI Group Acts at Fond du Lac Gathering on Hispanics and Latinos

Update: Washington Post - Bad Economy May Fuel Hate Groups, Experts Warn

© by Michael Leon

A social diversity event held last night at the Fond du Lac, Wisconsin Public Library entitled "¡Hola! Hispanic and Latino Experiences in Fond du Lac" was marred by a card left on the car windows of several participants by a neo-NAZI "Aryan Wear" group asking if the car-owners had "had enough diversity?".

The card is pictured above-left and was obtained by e-mail from Ken Hall, director of the Fond du Lac Public Library.

The Progressive Magazine Turns 100

The Progressive Magazine turns 100 today.
And the journal continues to be a voice of the progressive movement: An unrelenting voice for social justice and political autonomy.

From Joe McCarthy, the US-financed Guatemalan death squads, the danger and fraud of American nuclear arms policy to America gone crazy under the Bush administration, the Progressive Magazine has never strayed from its mission as a journal dedicated to fact-based journalism and a voice for sanity and truth in public affairs.
For me growing up in Wisconsin reading the Progressive Magazine was and is an integral part of the political culture, like hating Joe McCarthy, opposing the Vietnam War, and the death squads in Central America.
And so the magazine retains a place in my heart right next my education at UW-Madison and the many people whom I have met who spend their lives dedicated to social justice.

Shafting Vets Makes the News

Not news among veterans’ advocates, but three pieces paint a sordid picture of what our country intentionally inflicts upon our veterans when it makes war.

War tends to produce results dysfunctional to future war-making so veterans and serving military personnel who point to any evidence of this truism risk a hostile government machinery.

Consider what happens when death gives a veteran a problem and the VA can’t make a fraud charge stick when a solider is diagnosed with the resulting Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), here’s an alternative tactic: Ruin a soilder’s career while he’s still in the service and take away as many benefits as possible.

See Army General Improperly Kicks Out Iraq War Soldier Diagnosed with PTSD (Veterans for Common Sense).

Walker to Milwaukee County: Drop Dead!

Herbert Hoover Walker, the Man Who Would Be Governor, wants to stick it to Milwaukee.

Trouble is, Walker is the Milwaukee County executive, not some two-bit political hack from Elroy, as one of his GOP opponents once called Tommy "Stick it to 'em" Thompson.

Walker's already said county taxpayers shouldn't pay for programs that only help the city of Milwaukee.

In the name of holding the line on property taxes, he's decimated public services in the county, with deteriorating parks, and a bus system being purposely killed by neglect, just to cite the top of the list.

He's vetoed an attempt to ask county voters whether they would favor a half per cent sales tax to reduce property taxes and fill some of the county's financial hole.

Now he's turned his back on potential federal economic stimulus money, too.

The Journal Sentinel reports:

The only federal economic stimuli Walker endorses are tax cuts...

"The last thing you want to do is put money in hands of government," if the goal is to pull the economy from recession, Walker said.

Supreme Court candidate courts the gun lobby

Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson's opponent, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Randy Koschnick, had barely filed his nomination petitions when he began pressing the flesh -- at a gun show in LaCrosse.

Koschnick told WXOW-TV the gun show gave him a chance to meet voters. It was such a good chance he campaigned there two days in a row.

It speaks volumes about the candidate and his candidacy.

And, yes, the gun nuts at the National Rifle Assn. do endorse in Supreme Court races.

If Koschnick doesn't advertise the inevitable NRA endorsement when it comes, the Abrahamson campaign should. The Gableman race notwithstanding, the NRA's track record is pathetic. The vast majority of Wisconsin voters support reasonable restrictions on firearms, which is why the NRA is so ineffective politically.

Doubt that? Ask Gov. Jim Doyle, who was the NRA's number one national target for defeat when he ran for re-election in 2006. How'd that turn out?