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...

All I know is what I read in the papers

Johnson, an Oshkosh business owner, supported a "full steam" ahead approach to developing nuclear power plants.
That "full steam" quote was my favorite from a three-paragraph Journal Sentinel online story reporting on a GOP Senate candidate forum on Monday. But it never made it to the article that actually appeared in Tuesday's paper.

 Instead, we got this:

Ron Johnson also said more nuclear power plants could safely help limit U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

In fact, a lot of things either didn't make it or were reported in somewhat watered-down fashion, and editors gave it a headline little better than "Meeting held," which probably didn't attract many readers.

Would-be Senators Ron Johnson and Dave Westlake took some amazing positions on energy policy, with Westlake echoing Texas Rep. Joe Barton in calling BP's $20-billion Gulf damages fund a shakedown, and Johnson agreeing that President Obama had gone too far.

Johnson invests $750,000, gets no return

I don't trust Rasmussen Reports polling numbers, as I've made clear many times.

But there's a new one, and let's suspend disbelief just for a moment and consider what it would tell us if they were right.

A poll taken on Monday has Russ Feingold leading Ron Johnson 46-45, RR says.  Last time they released numbers, on May 27, Feingold led by two points, 46-44.

What's happened in between?  Johnson, who's on TV roughly as much as McDonalds, has spent something like $750,000 on TV commercials -- and maybe gained one per cent.  I say maybe because he could actually have lost 5 points, when you factor in the margin of error.

Maybe it's not a big deal when you have money to burn. But that lack of return on investment must drive a business tycoon crazy.

Johnson is reportedly willing to spend $10-million to $15-million of his own money on the race,

At this rate, he will need every penny.

On Taming The Financial Beast, Or, Sausage Gets Made, You Get To Watch

While we’ve all been busy watching the “oil spill live cam”, a similar uncontrolled discharge has been taking place in Washington, DC

In this case, however, it’s lobbyists that are spilling all over the landscape as the House and Senate attempt to merge their two visions of financial reform.

They’re trying desperately to influence the outcome of the conference in which House and Senate negotiators have been engaged; this to craft the exact language of the reconciled legislation.

There’s an additional element of drama hovering over the events as eight House members, including one of the most vocal of the Republican negotiators, face ethics questions related to this very bill.

The best part: if you’re enough of a political geek, you can actually watch the events unfold, unedited and unfiltered, from the comfort of your very own computer.

So far, it’s been amazing political theater, and if you follow along I’ll tell you how you can get in on the fun, too.

Ron Johnson: Nuke, baby, nuke

Republican Senate candidate Ron Johnson outlines his energy policy for Wisconsin:

Drill, baby, drill, and nuke, baby, nuke.

That's remarkably consistent.  He's for drilling under the Great Lakes and building more nuclear reactors while high-level radioactive waste continues to pile up on the shores of Lake Michigan. 

The Journal Sentinel, on a forum with Johnson and primary opponent David Westlake:

Johnson, an Oshkosh business owner, supported a "full steam" ahead approach to developing nuclear power plants.

Obviously, the disaster in the Gulf gives Johnson no pause about the likelihood of an even bigger catastrophe that is almost certain, sooner or later, to occur at a nuclear reactor if we keep building them.


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