Scott Jensen jury selection hits a snag

Jury selection began today in the retrial of former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, a mere eight years after he was charged with felony misconduct in office, and four years after he was convicted of three felonies and sentenced to 15 months in prison, of which he has not served a day.*

The case could be delayed further, however, by difficulties finding a jury of 12 of Jensen's peers to serve on the panel.

"We were thinking we could empanel a jury of Chuck Chvala, Brian Burke, Steve Foti,and some other former legislators who were convicted of similar crimes, but Jensen's lawyers objected because those people actually paid some penalties, including fines and jail time, for what they did," a Waukesha prosecutor said. "It's going to be hard to find 12 people who did the kinds of things Jensen did and got off scot free."

Ron Johnson and the POG

(Johnson's correct first name is Ron, not Rob. The typo has been corrected.)


(Cross-posted from my blog, Kaufman's Gull.)


According to a fawning column by Washington Post columnist George Will, Wisconsin Republican Senate candidate Ron Johnson, president of plastics manufacturer Pacur of Oshkosh, WI, is a student of writer Ayn Rand's novel, Atlas Shrugged, a book that has become a "Tea Party" manifesto of sorts.

You could, if you'd like, read all thousand or so pages of Rand's novel, but the moral of the story can be summed up as follows: unregulated capitalism is the most rational, moral way of life.

Rand's brand of morality does not allow for any merciful, religious feeling toward your fellow man or fellow creature; in fact, I think it fair to describe her philosophy as anti-Christian if by "Christian" we mean acting upon the love of one's neighbor, or as Christ puts it in the Sermon on the Mount: "Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away."

1,000 US dead in Afghanistan; How many more?

Just in time for Memorial Day, the official US fatality toll in the Afghanistan war hits 1,000.

Veterans for Peace reminds us that the military casualty count, in Afghanistan or any other war, is miniscule in comparison to civilian casualties. The VFP message:

Official Veterans For Peace Memorial Day Statement by Board President, Mike Ferner.

This Memorial Day as we pause to remember the U.S. service members who have died during the nation's wars, we need to think for another moment of the astounding number of civilians who have perished in those wars as well.

Here are the numbers, available on a commemorative 2010 Memorial Day Bookmark VFP has issued to help remind us of the true costs of war.


Rasmussen redux: 'Weird' polls abound

We already dissed the latest Rasmussen Senate poll yesterday, but this comes from a more authoritative source, Nate Silver at 538. He's the guy who almost perfectly predicted the last presidential race in every state. Silver says:

Rasmussen released a poll suggesting that Ron Johnson, a businessman from Oshkosh, is running just 2 points behind Democratic incumbent Russ Feingold in Wisconsin's Senate race.

Have you ever heard of Ron Johnson? I hadn't until about three days ago. And it seems unlikely that many voters in the Badger State would have heard about him either. Johnson didn't announce his candidacy until two weeks ago. He's never held political office before. He runs a small business called Pacur Inc that has only 73 employees. He doesn't have a campaign website up. He doesn't have a Wikipedia page.

On My Approaching Gay Anniversary, Or, I Break The Fourth Wall

So once again my writing schedule is going to be turned upside down by unforeseen events—but it’s going to be worth it, as I have one of the funnier stories to tell you that I’ve brought to these pages for some time.

It’s a tale of catering and rejection and redemption, all in one, along with a bit of the Harlem Renaissance thrown in for good measure, and the big circle that was created was officially closed last Saturday night.

So come along, Gentle Reader, and I’ll tell you the story of how I was officially notified that I’m a member of the gay community—by email.

Expert says Johnson tearing down sign was a positive

Where do they find these experts? Fox11 News in Green Bay:

Political Science expert Sara Rinfrets from UWGB viewed the video; she believes it could have been intended to discredit Johnson. But Rinfrets says the Democrats might have inadvertently helped Johnson's campaign which kicked off just weeks ago.

"It might actually provide some name recognition to him, so yeah he's the guy tearing down the sign, the opponent's sign, but it might actually force voters to search or seek more information about him," said Rinfrets. Rinfrets says voters have come to expect such political tactics and in the coming months undoubtedly there will be more.

So does she think Johnson's time is better spent tearing down signs than shaking hands, meeting voters, or knocking on doors?

I clearly know nothing about modern campaigns; it's good to hear from an expert.

What's-his-name tied with Feingold? Get real!

Great news for Ron Johnson: No one's ever heard of him, he has only been a candidate for about a week, he hasn't spent a nickel on TV, and he's tied with Russ Feingold in the US Senate race.

If you believe that, see me about a deal on some hot Gulf Coast real estate.

Yes, our friends at Rasmussen Reports are back with another Republican-slanted poll. [UPDATE: The governor's race numbers are good for Republican Scott Walker, too.  Who would have expected it?  From Rasmussen, everyone.]

We've noted several times in the past how Republicans always seem to fare better in Rasmusssen's polls than in others -- quite a coincidence since they are a Republican firm that doesn't say who's paying for the frequent polls they keep releasing.

Their latest poll says Ron Johnson, a guy who's never been in politics or in the public eye, has 67% name recognition after campaigning for one week, without ever buying any television time.

Sen. Feingold and other Congressmen Trying to End "Operation Enduring War"

Speaking of a proper Democratic response to corporate greed and war,  NY Times columnist Paul Krugman puts it well in his latest column, the best part of which is the finale:

"So where does that leave the president and his party? Mr. Obama wanted to transcend partisanship. Instead, however, he finds himself very much in the position Franklin Roosevelt described in a famous 1936 speech, struggling with 'the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.'

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Roosevelt turned corporate opposition into a badge of honor: 'I welcome their hatred,' he declared. It’s time for President Obama to find his inner F.D.R., and do the same."


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