Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Makar, who has been active in opposition to the marriage amendment referendum question that will appear on the November ballot, apparently decided to resign publicly after a group called Wisconsin Family Action mentioned the amendment in a postcard attack ad against Democrat Gordon Hintz. Makar's opposition to the amendment has been in the open (she spoke publicly against it at a UW Oshkosh rally); I was shocked she was able to stay in the Pung-Leschke campaign as long as she did.
The treasurer resigning from the campaign does not change the fact that an awful lot of money is being spent by outside special interests on Leschke's behalf, much of it primarily attacks against Hintz. The Hintz campaign estimates that $130,000 in special interest money has been spent on Leschke's behalf, including:
*Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce: $20,000 in cable TV.
*Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce: $20,000 in radio.
*Wisconsin Home Owners Alliance: $20,000 in TV.
*Wisconsin Home Owners Alliance: $28,000 for 4 district wide mailings.
*All Children Matter (a pro school voucher group based in Michigan): $21,000 for 3 district wide mailings (2 negative, 1 positive).
*Wisconsin Right to Life: $14,000 for 2 district-wide mailings.
*Wisconsin Family Action, Inc.: $7,000 for 1 district-wide mailing.
According to the Hintz campaign: "These totals are estimates based on average rates for TV time political purchases, printing, and mailing costs. Since these groups do not have to disclose their financing, we are not able to know the exact amount being spent."
Senators Ellis (R) and Erpenbach (D) today announced that they would be sponsoring reform legislation to curb the influence of special interest groups that have hijacked campaigns. According to Wispolitics.com:
“Our elections are being hijacked,” Ellis said. “The public is being shoved aside by a few special interests who flood the airwaves with garbage and negative ads. As a result, campaigns become negative and personal. They avoid discussion of the issue that matter to most voters. Even worse, they threaten to turn off voters and endanger democracy.”
“Our bill will once again put the public interest front and center,” said Erpenbach.
Voting against a tax increase is easy--what's difficult is finding $775,000 in cuts. As the budget deliberations proceed and Board members find that their pet county projects are headed for the chopping block, all of a sudden Harris' tax proposal may not sound like such a bad idea. Don't be surprised if it is reconsidered.
Monday, October 30, 2006
"If you still think of Wisconsin as the state that churns out all that bland, industrially produced cheddar and mozzarella, you're not up on your cheeseology. In the last decade the Dairy State has become home to dozens of small producers whose innovative, handmade cheeses are racking up prestigious awards and wowing cheesemongers around the country."
Sunday, October 29, 2006
They got the idea from Bob Dylan, of course:
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
Kudos to the campus Greens for seeing that this entire isssue is not about personality cults, partisan politics, or university public relations. They understand that legislative attempts to micromanage the university curriculum and the out of classroom statements of teachers ultimately threatens us all. They understand that the search for Truth on ANY topic becomes impossible when administrators and faculty allow themselves to be bullied and intimidated by politicians, the press, or other special interests. To think that the legislature will "leave us alone" or treat us better after Barrett is undermined and/or booted out of the System is horribly naive. Today it's Barrett, tomorrow it will be someone else (perhaps a stem cell researcher, evolutionary biologist, or prison reform advocate).
So thank you campus Greens for showing the administration and faculty that it is still possible to act with courage and integrity on a college campus.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
A racist appeal in the closing days of a tight Senate race calls to mind Jesse Helms' racist "white hands" ad run against Democrat Harvey Gantt in 1990.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
Obama indicated to Silverstein a keen awareness of the culture of official Washington (which, by the way, is the same culture of official Madison that gives us corporate shills like Coke Doyle and Pepsi Green as allegedly serious candidates for governor) and how it renders reformers impotent, yet Silverstein wonders if reform is now possible. He writes: "The question . . . is just how effective --let alone reformist--Obama's approach can be in a Washington grown hostile to reform and those who advocate it. After a quarter century when the Democratic Party to which he belongs has moved steadily to the right, and the political system in general has become thoroughly dominated by the corporate perspective, the first requirement of electoral success is now the ability to raise staggering sums of money. For Barack Obama, this means that mounting a successful career, especially one that may include a run for the presidency, cannot even be attempted without the kind of compromising and horse trading that may, in fact, render him impotent." Silverstein then shows how on a range of policy issues Obama has sided with his campaign contributors--even when it meant ending up voting with the Republicans on the class action suit "reform" bill, ethanol subsidies, and other measures.
Silverstein shows how Obama is not a sell-out as much as a product of the times: "I recall a remark made by Studs Terkel in 1980, about the liberal Republican John Anderson, who was running as an independent against Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. 'People are so tired of dealing with two-foot midgets, you give them someone two foot four and and they start proclaiming him a giant.' In the unstinting and unanimous adulation of Barack Obama today, one wonders if a similar dynamic might be at work. If so, his is less a midgetry of character than one dictated by changing context. Gone are the days when . . . the US Senate could comfortably house such men as Fred Harris (from Oklahoma, of all places), who called for the breakup of the oil, steel, and auto industries; as Wisconsin's William Proxmire . . . a crusader against big banks who neither spent nor raised campaign money; as South Dakota's George McGovern, who favored huge cuts in defense spending and a guranteed income for all Americans; as Frank Church of Idaho, who led important investigations into CIA and FBI abuses."
What we're left with, then, is an extreme form of lesser-evil politics. I don't think we're going to see real change until the Obamas of the Democrats become part of an organized effort to leave the Party, much like the Progressive revolt in the Wisconsin of the 1930s. Don't look for that to happen anytime soon.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
I have to give Julie credit for her performance during the interview. Whereas Drew asks Gordon mostly softball questions, I ended up in a debate with Julie. Moreover, during our interview there were some good phone calls, but also a few worthless ones that sounded like Hintz supporters who need to get a life. Listen for yourself and make your own judgements. Overall I'd say Julie held her own.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Thursday, October 19, 2006
The question that we have to ask ourselves is whether we believe in academic freedom in fact or merely as a convenient way of shielding ourselves from criticism.
The test has to be whether we conduct ourselves in a way that is consistent with the claims and the statements about academic freedom that our found in the institutions’ governing documents.
If we look in Chapter One of the Faculty Handbook, we see this statement:
“To be free, a university must encourage a full examination of all viewpoints, but to remain free, the institution must avoid actions which advocate a particular viewpoint.”
I don’t see how what we are doing on this panel, and the one two weeks ago on “Why People Believe Weird Things” can be squared with that statement.
Rather than encourage a full examination of Kevin Barrett’s point of view, it seems to me that we are trying to overshadow and crowd out his appearance on campus. And in doing that we are advocating a particular viewpoint about his legitimacy.With Miles' permission, I reproduce his entire statement here.
The attorney general race seems closer than it should be, with Falk ahead of Van Hollen by a 44-38 margin with 12% unsure and 7% claiming to support another candidate (McGruff the crime dog, perhaps?).
On the referendum questions, bringing the death penalty back is currently favored by a 50-45 margin. The "yes" vote on the marriage amendment is ahead 51-44.
I think it's significant that the poll does not reach cell phone users, meaning that there is probably not an accurate read for the 18-40 year old age group. True, that group will probably not vote in high numbers anyway, but on the death penalty and marriage amendment they could be the swing.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Click Here for a Jason Moon Peace Day folk concert. Click here for a radio interview I did with Jason some time back.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
People for the American Way have put together a profile of ACM. That profile can be found here. They have also profiled founder Dick DeVos.
I hope the Oshkosh Northwestern does some investigating to see what ties, if any, exist between the Leschke for Assembly campaign and ACM. They should also investigate ties between Democrat Hintz and whatever interest groups are operating on his behalf.
It's ironic that the Winnebago Republicans would be complaining about Hintz's out of state supporters at the same time their candidate Julie Pung Leschke is receiving major help from out of state interests. The other day a mailing arrived on Leschke's behalf from "All Children Matter," a Michigan based group focused mostly on the issue of public school choice. They say that Julie supports "empowering parents with more high-quality educational options" (translation: use more tax dollars to support private schools in Milwaukee so that fewer dollars are available for public schools across the state, including Oshkosh).
Here's what the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign said about "All Children Matter's" role in the 2004 Wisconsin elections:
All Children Matter is a right-wing group formed in Spring 2003 based in Michigan advocating school choice in the form of private school voucher programs and charter schools. Milwaukee school choice advocates, George and Susan Mitchell, represent the group in Wisconsin (see Alliance for Choices in Education). This group reportedly sought to influence about 16 state legislative races. WDC confirms the following efforts. The group ran issue ad campaigns by direct mail in the 22nd, 30th and 32nd Senate districts. The mail pieces supported Republican Senate candidate Dan Kapanke (SD 32) and attacked Democratic incumbent Senators Robert Wirch (SD 22) and Dave Hansen (SD 30). They attacked Wirch and Hansen for their lack of support of a property tax freeze and made a veiled and unsubstantiated charge that they would send tax dollars to schools in Milwaukee at the expense of schools in their own districts. In a separate mailing, ACM quoted a Green Bay Press-Gazette article from November 2002 that called for Hansen's resignation for being a part of "politics as usual in Madison." There were reports of similar activity attacking the opponents of Republican incumbents Senator Sheila Harsdorf (SD 10) and Representatives Mark Pettis (AD 28) and Eugene Hahn (AD 47).
This group is headed by Michigan multimillionaire Dick DeVos, whose family is connected to Amway Corporation. DeVos' wife Betsy served for several years as the chair of the Michigan Republican Party. Her brother, Erik Prince, is the founder and owner of Blackwater Security Consulting, the private tactical training facility providing security forces in Baghdad. School choice advocate George Mitchell represents the group in Wisconsin, and has said ACM spent more than $500,000 to influence state legislative elections in 2004.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
- Estimated 654,965 additional deaths in Iraq between March 2003 and July 2006
- Majority of the additional deaths (91.8 percent) caused by violence
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
David Korten, one of the most insightful contemporary writers dealing with topics related to corporate power, empire, and what he refers to as "Earth Community," will be speaking at UW Oshkosh on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. (Reeve Union 307). I became aware of Korten about 10 years ago, when he wrote the classic When Corporations Rule the World. An especially interesting part of that book is Korten's personal journey from conservative, big business boosterism to becoming a truth teller about what's ailing the globe.
On Wednesday Korten will probably talk about themes coming from his latest book, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community. A good introduction to it can be found in this article from Yes Magazine.
This event has not been labeled "weird," and none of the self-appointed guardians of what is scholarly have tried to discourage people from attending it. So you can come without having to feel you are listening to something out of the pages of the National Enquirer.
A reception will be held before Korten's speech from 6-7 p.m.
Monday, October 09, 2006
I have mixed feelings on the sales tax, but I think Harris deserves much credit for the approach he is taking. The editorialists are confusing the job of an elected county executive like Harris with a hired city manager like Oshkosh's Dick Wollangk. The latter, being a hired hand, can submit a dozen budgets if the Common Council requests that he do so. If he refuses to do it, they can fire him.
The elected county executive, by contrast, is a politician charged with submitting a balanced budget. Whereas the city manager serves the common council that hired him, the county executive serves the people who elected him. Harris has calculated that the best way to serve the people of the county is to raise the sales tax. Maybe it's a bad idea, maybe not--but at least Harris is willing to take the political heat from the chamber of commerce and their point men on the Northwestern editorial board.
More important, in presenting the board with just the sales tax budget, Harris is forcing them to make a decision on the sales tax. We have had too many years of smoke and mirrors budgeting, putting off difficult decisions, and grandstanding about making cuts that never materialize. Harris is essentially telling the county board to "put up or shut up." He has demononstrated a willingnes to take heat for making a difficult policy decision--let's see if they are willing to do the same.
Listen to Harris talk about the sales tax budget on Radio Commentary.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
We spend some time on the program talking about the "Shakespeare on the Fox" programming taking place at the Grand, including the October 15th performance of Trial of the Happy Dagger Company.
Friday, October 06, 2006
The vote to approve the Diebold machines was close. Had Ertmer and State Elections Board Director Kevin Kennedy told the truth during the public "hearing" (which was really a Diebold sales pitch) in June, the resolution to purchase Diebold touch screens would have almost certainly failed. Perhaps then the Board would have acted on Dr. Ann Frisch's idea--which is sill needed--to establish an independent citizens' commission to study voting procedures in the county.
Today Supervisor Jef Hall will ask the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee to send a resolution to the full board to deny payment to Diebold until we get what we paid for. It's a no-brainer resolution that I hope passes unanimously. The Northwestern editorialized on it today.
Denying payment to Diebold is not enough. Because they chose to flak for Diebold instead of properly informing the county board and citizens about true nature of the equipment being sold, Ertmer and Kennedy have seriously undermined the trust that needs to exist between their offices and our elected officials. The Board of Supervisors should pass a resolution of censure of Ertmer and Kennedy for purposely misleading them in June.
Additionally, it is time for the supervisors to establish a committee to investigate the procedures used to purchase voting equipment in the county. What role do the supervisors have in such purchases? Who lobbies the county clerk and the municipal clerks? Does the open meetings law apply to clerks' deliberations about voting equipment? If not, why not? These and many other questions need to be asked and answered to insure the integrity of our election procedures in Winnebago County.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Today we see a similar hostitily to dialectics. The government says, "al Qaeda operatives under orders from Osama bin Laden were responsible for the terrorist attacks on 9/11." The opposite proposition is then: "United States government operatives were responsible for the terrorist attacks on 9/11." Greek and Roman philosophers understood that only in the clash of opposites could the truth or probable truth emerge, and they were wise enough to understand that merely listening to advocates of the "shocking" side (i.e. the US government committed the atrocities) did not mean that you agreed with or sympathized with that side. I think they would see the way the Barrett situation has been handled as very weird indeed.
The hostility toward even entertaining the thought of US government involvement in 9/11 would make more sense to me personally if there existed a credible investigation of the events of that terrible day. Unfortunately such an investigation does not exist. Lee Hamilton and Tom Kean, the co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission, have themselves admitted that the Commission was not able to answer many questions related to that day due to Bush Administration and intelligence agency stonewalling, and they understand that conspiracy theories are the inevitable result of the incomplete study that resulted. The Barretts of the world will languish in obscurity when we finally get a serious, independent investigation of that day.
Forgetting about the Barrett situation for a moment, I do think it's time for responsible academics to help our society transcend the gut level resistance to dialectical thinking. Such resistance is not rational, scientific, or responsible. Rather, the resistance reflects fear of unscrupulous "legislators breathing down our necks" who have no problem equating our investigation of a troubling proposition with our actually advocating it. That's just McCarthyism 101 folks.
Now here's Barrett's response to the Northwestern followed by his statement about the trouble UW Madison students are having in trying to find faculty to defend the 9/11 Commission Report. I think "sifting and winnowing" should be replaced with "avoiding and caving" (as in avoiding controversy and caving in to pressure from onerous UW critics).
Kevin Barrett responds to Oshkosh Northwestern editorial
To the Oshkosh Northwestern,
Thank you for your editorial "A teachable moment on a terrible theory." I agree that academics who disagree with my analysis of 9/11 ought to scrutinize my statements, research the evidence I cite, and then--IF they still disagree with me--attempt to refute my views in a public debate.
9/11 skeptics, including dozens of former high-level military, intelligence, and executive branch officials--see patriotsquestion911.com--have been seeking honest debate for years. But
nobody will debate us. As you wrote:
"Unfortunately, those who might consider Barrett unqualified or dead wrong on 9/11 seem more inclined to let him control the discussion...Academia seems hesitant to dissect and destroy his theory." That is because no sane person trained in critical thinking who has researched the issue will dare to defend that monumental fraud known as the 9/11 Commission Report. Indeed, those who chose to do so would be setting themselves to be held in public contempt, and possibly even face future prosecution, as accessories to mass murder and high treason.
Please wake up to your journalistic responsibilities, investigate 9/11 for yourselves, tell the American people the truth, and help us get our democracy back.
It appears that Kevin Barrett and Jim Fetzer will debate two empty chairs Thursday, October 5th, 2006 at 6 p.m. at the Curti Lounge, 5243 Humanities, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The History Students' Association tried to find one or more U.W.-Madison professors willing to defend the 9/11 Commission Report in a debate with Barrett and Fetzer, to no avail.
The fact that not a single U.W.-Madison professor is willing to defend the 9/11 Commission Report in public speaks volumes.
Ironically, the Oshkosh Northwestern just ran an editorial bemoaning the fact that no academics are willing to debate Barrett.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
TAKE BACK THE NIGHT
Please join CARE and MenCARE as they
March for Those
No Longer Able to March for Themselves !
This year’s march is dedicated to those who have lost their lives due to domestic abuse/sexual assault
Wednesday, October 4, 2006 – 6:00 P.M.
Gather at Oshkosh Opera House Square (Across from the Grand Opera House)
Did you know?
Domestic violence is a serious issue that concerns all of us. Here are some general facts:
- Approximately 1.5 million women are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States.
- 3 million children in the United States are exposed to domestic violence in their homes.
- Approximately 90% - 95% of domestic violence victims are women.
- 25,021 incidents of domestic abuse were reported in Wisconsin in 2000.
- 49 people were killed in Wisconsin domestic homicides in 2002.
- All statistics were found at: www.wcadv.org/?go=gethelp/faqs
Domestic abuse is a systematic process of humiliating, demeaning, and controlling another person through behaviors that cause fear and intimidation. Domestic abuse occurs between current or former intimate partners. Abuse often begins with verbal and/or emotional and may escalate to include physical and/or sexual abuse. Abuse is about power and control. Here are some behaviors that abusers may use to gain power and control over their victims:
INTIMIDATION: Frightens you with looks, actions and gestures. Smashes things and destroys your property. Abuses pets. Displays weapons.
ECONOMIC ABUSE: Prevents your getting or keeping a job. Gives you an allowance or makes you ask for money. Doesn't allow you to know about or have access to family income.
COERCION AND THREATS: Threatens to harm you. Threatens to leave, commit suicide or report you to welfare. Makes you drop charges or do illegal things.
MALE PRIVILEGE: Acts like the master and treats you like a servant. Makes all the big decisions. Defines and enforces men's and women's roles.
USES THE CHILDREN: Makes you feel guilty about the children and relays messages through them. Uses visitation to harass you. Threatens to take the children by charging you with neglect and abuse.
EMOTIONAL ABUSE: Calls you names privately or in public. Puts you down and makes you feel bad about yourself. Tries to make you think you're crazy. Tries to make you feel guilty.
ISOLATION: Controls what you do, who you see and talk to, what you read and where you go. Limits your outside involvement and uses jealousy as justification.
DENIAL & BLAME: Makes light of the abuse and doesn't take your concern seriously. Denies abuse occurred. Shifts responsibility for the abuse by blaming you.
Domestic Abuse Intervention Project. Duluth, MN. http://www.acadv.org/pcwheel.html
IF YOU NEED HELP CALL LOCAL RESOURCES!
- Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services 235-5998
- The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Counseling Center 424-2061
- Campus Violence Prevention Project (CVPP)- Victim Advocate 424-3127
- CARE/MenCARE (Campus for Awareness and Relationship Education) 424-2061
- The Crisis Hotline 233-7707
- University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Police 424-1212
- UW Oshkosh Student Health Center 424-2424
- Hospital Emergency Room (920) 223-2000 or 911
Special thanks to: Tina Kriesel and Jennifer Ellner, who compiled the following information for a UW Oshkosh course concerning domestic violence. It is presented here for your additional information and as part of a community service project for their class.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Monday, October 02, 2006
Sunday, October 01, 2006
- October 3: Faculty panel discussion of "Why People Believe Weird Things" (6:30 p.m. Foundation Center)
- October 17: Faculty panel on "Academic Freedom as a Form of Free Speech" (6:30 p.m. Foundation Center)
- November 6: "Memories of 9/11 Panel" (7 - 9 p.m. Reeve Union Ballroom). This panel features former UW Oshkosh Religious Studies faculty member Ed Linenthal, Jeff Kaplan of Religious Studies, Iraq War veteran Matthew Young, Simon Sibelman of Foreign Languages and Literatures, and Salman Aziz of the Fox Valley Islamic Society. According to the University press release: " . . . the UW-Oshkosh student winner of the first $1,000 Chancellor’s 9/11 Memorial Prize will be announced at the event." The entries for this award are due in the Provost's office by November 3rd by 4:30 p.m., and apparently will be judged over the weekend by a panel of faculty, students, and administrators.
- November 7: Speech by author Michael Shermer on "Why People Believe Weird Things" (8 p.m. Reeve Union Ballroom).
The aforementioned events feature some thought provoking individuals and, because the chancellor has organized them, they will be well attended. If all it takes is a Barrett visit to produce well attended academic panels, maybe the campus Greens should ask him to make more than one visit.
I think all that's missing for these events is a theme song to be played at the beginning of each. I nominate Motorhead's "Overkill."
10/2 Update: Barrett spoke at UW Madison on Sunday and, in what must be a surprise to UW administrators, there were no protestors and the world didn't end!