David Clarke to the rescue? -- Not

Is it just me, or do you wonder how Sheriff David Clarke came to be in charge of investigating the collapse of a Milwaukee County parking structure that claimed the life of a 15-year-old boy?  Or is he?

Did Clarke just grab the mic at the news conference to announce, ala Alexander Haig, that he was in charge?

Clarke is very good at getting in front of a camera, but what exactly is his standing in this case?

"Like many of you, I want to know why this happened," Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. said during a news conference near the garage. "The answer to that, however, is going to take some time."

Is this a criminal investigation? Is it a possible homicide? Even if it were, although this is county property it happened in the City of Milwaukee, which has its own police force and homicide unit that might actually be a little more independent, since they don't work for the county.

Or maybe it's a job for the medical examiner or coroner or district attorney. Or maybe a structural engineer.

David Clarke is none of those things.

GOP Tweets for Feingold to Listen

[img_assist|nid=3859|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=300|height=225]I get tweets from a number of unlikely groups, since it's always important to know what people are up to.  The state GOP has been twittering away for some time now that we should all join the campaign to get Russ Feingold to listen to his constituents.  Now, I'd always thought that Russ was listening every time I've talked to him, which isn't nearly often enough.

Turns out that I'm apparently not the only one who has thought he was listening.  Roll Call has just listed Russ as having had more town hall meetings than any other senator.  Maybe it's some other Russ Feingold that the GOP is talking about??.

Ron Johnson plays Mr. Insider in DC

Does this sound like an outsider who's going to shake up the Washington power structure?  Or is it someone who went to Washington to court the power structure and get his marching orders?

Ron Johnson, GOP Senate candidate, visited DC recently and spent his time, according to The Hill:

     -- Meeting with members of the Senate Republican Conference.  In other words, incumbent Republican Senators, who are responsible for the partisan gridlock that his tied the government in knots.

     -- Meeting with Rep. Paul Ryan, an establishment Republican and major insider who's sometimes touted for the GOP national ticket, and certainly not as an outside challenging the system.

     -- "Brushing up" on policy issues with the Heritage Foundation.  “That’s where I mainly got my policy briefing,” he said. “I really appreciated that — that was very informative.”   Was it informative enough for him to stop ducking the news media or even Tea Party interviews?

New politics?  Same old, same old.   

A travesty: County board censures DeBruin

She should get an award for exposing the shameful goings-on at the Milwaukee County mental health complex, but Supervisor Lynne DeBruin instead was censured by the County Board today for blowing the whistle on the shameful situation and decisions that contributed to 11 sexual assaults and other violence to women there.

County Executive Scott Walker, who appointed the person describing the sexual violence as an acceptable tradeoff, has not fired or disciplined him.

The dishonor roll of supervisors who thought there was something so wrong with telling the taxpayers what was going on that they voted for the censure:  Paul Cesarz, Elizabeth M. Coggs, Marina Dimitrijevic, Nikiya Harris, Lee Holloway,

Rasmussen's generic response

Rasmussen Reports feels obliged to defend its honor, after it is pointed out that not only are Rasmussen polls reliably slanted Republican, but RR's chief is hanging out on a National Review cruise.

The response from a Rasmussen flak is pretty generic:

"Republican and Democratic campaigns both sometimes attack the messenger when they try to distract attention from news they don't like," Rasmussen spokeswoman Debra Falk wrote in an e-mail. "In the case of the Wisconsin Senate race, virtually every poll has shown (U.S. Sen. Russ) Feingold below 50% against every potential Republican challenger. That's a sure sign of a potentially vulnerable candidate. However, incumbents are often able to overcome a weak environment and win re-election."

Of course, what people have questioned is not the fact that Feingold is under 50%, which is not unusual, but that Rasmussen says he's even with Ron Johnson, the unknown Republican. Ms. Falk (no relation to the Dane County exec) doesn't address that.

As for the cruise, she says her boss is just one popular guy who gets invited and paid

Time for some advisory referenda?

Racine County Executive William Reynolds wants an advisory referendum on his county's Sept. 14 primary ballot, to ask residents if state constitution should be amended to prohibit any further transfers or lapses from the segregated transportation fund, the Journal Times reports.

Are people in Racine really worried that the road builders aren't making enough money, or is there something else going on? Advisory referendum or not, an amendment to the state constitution must be passed by two consecutive sessions of the legislature and then approved by voters in a binding statewide referendum.

But it does raise the intriguing possibility that Wisconsin Democrats should be taking a tip from Republican McReynolds. UPDATE: Waukesha County, too.

You'd think that hot races for governor and US Senator would be enough to get people to the polls, but that ain't necessarily so. How about an advisory referendum on Nov. 2 in Dane County on legalizing medical marijuana, or one in counties along Lake Superior and Lake Michigan on banning oil drilling in the Great Lakes? 

Republicans Intervene In Traffic Accident, Call Settlement "Shakedown"

Brighton, Colorado (FNS)—Attorneys from the Republican Study Group (RSG) descended upon the 17th Judicial District courtroom of Judge John T Bryan today to present an amicus brief and associated oral arguments in order to prevent a settlement in a lawsuit related to an automobile accident in this Colorado city.

The intervening attorneys claim the settlement reached between the two parties to the accident is a “shakedown” because the plaintiff had not yet exhausted all possible legal remedies when the agreement was finalized, and because the agreement was executed in the presence of the plaintiff’s brother, a well-known local attorney.

They hope Judge Bryan will decline to approve the settlement in today’s hearing, and that he will order the parties to move forward to trial. “What we have is government transferring property from one party, an admittedly unattractive one, to others, not based on preexisting laws but on decisions by one man, a car czar”, said Crush Mimbaugh, attorney for the RSG, “and we are here today to protect all Americans from this legally sanctioned rape of an innocent driver.”


Republican pollster says Republicans winning!!!

Another day, another Rasmussen poll, this one in the gov's race. Sigh.

It's a full time job reminding people that Ras is a Repub polling firm which is notorious for doing polls, especially early in a race, which usually shows Rs doing much better than they do in any independent polls.  And they're famous for fixing things to reflect more real numbers as the election gets closer, when there will be something to compare their numbers to.

Here's one explanation: Garbage in, garbage out.

Stem cells is scary issue for GOP, Tea Party

Tom Barrett has injected stem cell research into the race for governor, saying he would champion it, as Gov. Jim Doyle has done.

"My concern is you have candidates for office . . . who want to inject politics into science," said Barrett. "I think it would be a huge mistake to allow an ideological agenda to stop the work that's being done here."

The candidates for office he referred to were the GOP candidates for governor, Scott Walker and Mark Neumann, who both oppose embryonic stem cell research.

Wisconsin has been on the cutting edge of stem cell research, which makes it even more problematic for the Repubs. Research done here boots the state economy, the state university, and creates jobs.

The issue is not as prominent nationally as it was in 2006, when Doyle hung it like an anchor around the neck of his his opponent, Mark Green. But it remains a potent issue, as conservative blogger (and losing Assembly candidate) Jo Engelhoff realizes:

So the Dems are playing the embryonic stem cell card again. And well they would – it worked last time. Really worked. Remember the Michael J. Fox ad? Mark Green was a killer, denying life-saving research for your family member and mine...

It was a useless strategy in 2006 for the Mark Green group to argue the productivity of adult stem cells...


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