Ash Wednesday

Mass times tomorrow at St. Paul's:

- 8:00 a.m.
- 12:05 p.m.
- 5:00 p.m.
- 7:00 p.m.
- 9:00 p.m.

Stop by - even if only for anthropological reasons.

Snows of Kilimanjaro: Tribute to a Fellow Kielite

One of the most colorful natives of my hometown has passed.

Richard Bucholz, a retired dairy farmer, veteran, and world traveler died last week atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, doing what he loved - adventuring.

I knew Richard through the Friends of the Kiel Library group, which he headed. He always had a fascinating tale to tell. He was a great photographer, too.

The funeral was held today here in Wisconsin; my thoughts go out to the family and the many people who will miss him.


I'm not especially steeped in Hip Hop culture, but it seems odd that I have never heard of the musical group slated to perform at this year's All-Campus Party. Ever.

I knew all of the other groups in the past four years:
Run-DMC, Arrested Development, Better Than Ezra, and the Violent Femmes
Common, though, doesn't seem to be a commonly known group. For $20,000-$25,000 that comes in part from student funds, I would expect a musical performance by a band that has surpassed mere niche notoriety.

More Felons at UW

The report is out today.

Here's an ultra-brief summary of the damage:
40 felons systemwide
27 at UW-Madison
2 homicides among them
62% of the felons were convicted before hiring by UW
The report went out to offices at the capitol this morning; more fodder for those who have been sticking it to System all along.

That results from that statewide survey are going to be underrepresentative of the public's disillusionment with UW real fast.

After talking about the issue on today's Muckraking radio show on WSUM, we came to consensus that some serious house cleaning is in order.

The New House of Hog

Here's a rendering of the proposed Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee.

Architectural critic Whitney Gould likes it.

It seems all framing and no building to me, though. I'm not sure if this is a structure worth saving 50 years down the road.


*Rendering from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


Delusions of Grandeur - The Madison Common Council

Opiate and I take a one-two punch in today's Badger Herald at the misguided "progressive" policies pushed by certain alders on the Madison Common Council.

Mandatory sick leave is not a wise move. Neither is inclusionary zoning.

I can empathize with the altruistic motives that drive such proposals. I do have a problem with the mechanisms used, however, which ultimately give government excessive power.

A number of anonymous commenters have taken issue with my piece, but they aren't really offering up any solid support of their own. Few seem to realize that individuals are not forced to work at a certain place of employment in America.

I wonder what Alderman Austin King thought about the columns. I know he reads this blog. Sometimes.



Search for this on MSN.com and we're at the top of your list.

Ah, the funny things that draw people to this blog.

Smorgasbord O' Madison Music

Jesse Russell over at Dane101 has thrown together an extensive list of MyWebSpace sites for local Madison bands. It's really a great resource for hearing songs by new bands and long-time favorites.

Here are a few of the bands or artists on the list that I'd recommend checking out:

Burr Settles - gave a good show at the Corral Room last spring

Youngblood Brass Band
- a unique and fantastic fusion of New Orleans brass band and hip hop - caught their last show in The Rat with the old sousaphone player

The Kissers - I may disagree with their politics, but I love their music - memorable shows at High Noon Saloon

Art Paul Schlosser
- the loopy but lovable cuzoo/guitar combo has been the cause of many smiles for me while eating outside at Brats or on Mifflin

Ice Cap Fortune
- just stumbled across this one on the list - kind of a fun sound

UW-Madison Changes Speech Code Policy in Dorms

UW Housing, under pressure from groups like the UW ACLU, has ultimately changed its harassment policy for the dorms:

Dear University Residence Hall Students,

I hope you are having a successful year and enjoying your home in the residence hall community. Occasionally, during the course of a school year, we feel the need to change our existing Housing policy to meet the needs of our residents. We recently have worked with University Legal Services and the Wisconsin ACLU to update our harassment policy.

After much discussion and then a final review by the Residence Hall Advisory Board (current residence hall students that advise me and my staff on policies and procedures) we have made changes to our Harassment policy. You will see the old policy listed first and then the new policy. This new policy takes affect today, February 23, 2006. This serves as official notice to you and all residence hall community members that this now our current standard for behavior in residence halls.

Current Housing Policy: (as found in the Residence Hall Handbook).

Harassment (Can lead to dismissal from University Housing): Harassing behavior, regardless of the method of harassment (written, verbal, oral, via e-mail or other information technology resources, postings etc.) is prohibited in the residence halls. Behavior which demeans, intimidates, or threatens individuals based on age, ability, appearance, ethnicity, gender, group affiliation, HIV status, personal values, race, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, and size is not tolerated and will result in discipline up to, and including, dismissal.

New Housing Policy (takes effect 2/23/06):

Harassment (Can lead to dismissal from University Housing): "Harassment" is defined as verbal threats, intimidation, or conduct which: tend to cause or incite a breach of the peace; or are severe or pervasive enough to substantially interfere with a reasonable student's educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional or physical well-being and which actually do so interfere. The presentation of any idea, regardless of the ideas' nature or perceived value, may not be considered harassment unless it is accompanied with verbal threats, intimidation, or conduct as previously defined.

We in University Housing continue to strife to provide a safe and inclusive community that supports your academic goals and personal achievements. Enjoy the rest of your semester!


Paul Evans
Director, University Housing

The new policy, crafted in part by one my current classmates in a Poli Sci Seminar, seems to bring the dorm harassment policy into line with a framework less reliant on "progressive censorship."

In the wake of the overreaction to the "hate crime" in Ogg Hall, it's good to see that Housing had the fortitude to make the changes.


UPDATE: For more information on the change, see Sundeep Malladi's thorough piece from several weeks back in the Badger Herald when the paper covered the transition that ultimately took place over this weekend.

Helen C. Watches Over Us All

Targeted by Paul Bucher

Perhaps I'm taking the bait. Maybe I'm just playing into the feedback loop by making this post. But, oh well. It's noteworthy.

Today, as I scanned my Gmail inbox, I was suprised to see this at the top of the folder:
Liberals fear him - www.paulbucher.com - Who scares the liberals in the race for Wisconsin Attorney General?
I was somewhat taken aback. Usually, min-ads running across the top of my inbox come exclusively from national advertisers like ESPN, magazines, and news outlets. A plug for a Wisconsin Attorney General candidate seemed unusual.

My guess as to how it got there? Someone on the Bucher campaign got my e-mail off the sidebar of the blog and got a targeted ad (or perhaps my email was added to a list of blogger types that received it). I haven't had the Gmail address long enough to put it on many lists, though.

Regardless, the opening line of "Liberals fear him" appears to fall in line with Bucher's M.O. thus far in the campaign - he seems to spend most of his time trying to overcome a perceived deficiency in conservatism when contrasted with J.B. Van Hollen. His blatant attacks at Charlie Sykes' forum seemed designed for much the same purpose.

However, I have to hand it to Team Bucher or Jessica McBride or whoever caused me to see the ad. It's a savvy little move that, I must admit, got me to the Bucher webpage for the first time in a long time.

Another Slap at Regent Street Tailgating

Even if Austin King doesn't get his wish and have surface parking lots eliminated on Regent Street, the popular tailgate biergartens that need them might feel the heavy hand of the city.

Surprise, surprise.

The city now wants to selectively impose capacity caps on the game day biergartens:
The city would likely impose capacity caps on new license holders and established bars and restaurants around the stadium, Ruckriegel said, but grandfather in existing outdoor drinking areas in other parts of town.
If you ask me, the masses seemed to be doing just fine last fall in the parking lots at Rocky Rococo's, Lucky's, Jordan's, and the Stadium. And, last time I checked, nobody forced patrons to enter the throngs inside the fences.

Also, were the complaints coming from bar owners or people upset about getting an MGD or two spilled on their finest Badger apparel?
[Fire Dept. Marshal Ruckriegel] said he has met with city staff and a subcommittee of the Alcohol License Review Committee to review these concerns and complaints, but has not yet discussed the issue with bar owners.
If it's not bar owners complaining (which I'm guessing it's not), the city had better start talking with them. Game day is a bedrock day for business here in the Greenbush and the biergartens are a staple of the local scene.

Bloggers Giving in or Grabbing the Controls?

With the recent ascent of bloggers like McBride, Wigderson, and Owen to positions with MSM publications, Elliot has a question worth asking:
More bloggers are joining the Main Stream Media…but is that a good thing?
Sure, I'd say it is. The jump seems somewhat inevitable.

MSM publications need to co-opt the best writers and thinkers to stay afloat, and piggy backing on the success of blogs makes sense.

As someone who's worked for a great guerilla publication and now a respectable MSM publication while blogging, I can say that bloggers are natural prospects for a paper to pursue. What is better proof than a blog that an individual has the bare minimum of coherence, creativity, and personality requisite for a column? It's certainly the only reason Dane101 picked me up as a writer for an online debate over Election '06 in WI.

So, have bloggers who make the transition sold out? No, not really. They've seemingly achieved an overarching goal of shaping public opinion by changing the tone of the MSM from the inside.


Clues on Rebuilding Madison's Cathedral?

Bishop Robert Morlino's last two columns in The Catholic Herald seem to be a subtle effort to tip his hand on the future of the Cathedral here in Madison. Here's a bit from his latest column:
Again, it would be hard to imagine that this teaching office of the Bishop would be carried out apart from downtown Madison. Downtown Madison is like the Areopagus, the special place in Athens, Greece, where St. Paul addressed the gathered crowds seeking to bring them to the truth of Christ, guided by philosophical principles that were familiar to them.

Philosophical discussion about truth is occurring in downtown Madison in a way that is relatively unique in the whole United States. The truth of Christ needs to be made powerfully present as that discussion goes on.
This seems to argue for the rebuilding of St. Raphael's Cathedral or the construction of a new edifice on the same downtown site.

In speaking with a Catholic official in the upper echelons of the diocese this weekend, I found I was not the only one who discerned that message in the text. In this person's opinion, Holy Redeemer Parish, another downtown cathedral site often discussed, presented too many obstacles.

It's important to note that bishops are tied to specific churches, not necessarily a diocese. To change the cathedral location to somewhere in the diocese outside Madison would require going to Rome.

I recognize that re-building on the St. Raphael site will be more costly than other options, but I must say I agree with the Bishop. A vibrant, focal downtown presence is key, especially when the cathedral building that burnt last spring had such deep roots on the isthmus.


Why Didn't Students Vote for Dane County Board?

Because there wasn't more of this.

An article in The Cardinal today amplifies the hand-wringing about low student turnout in Tuesday's primary.

The thing is: a) students don't know the county board exists, b) it doesn't impact them in a noticeable way, and c) they don't care.

I'm blaming the candidates in the race for failing to stir up at least a bit of colorful activity to get people's attention, to break through the clutter. Why didn't we hear much about any of the candidates from the beginning of second semester until the primary this week?

Student candidates have not learned the lessons of Ten Fat Tigers and Pail and Shovel about how to get through to the student populace in the realm of politics.

Now WUD, on the other hand, managed to pique my interest with their zany costumes and antics. At least I know something is going on. And I'm going to vote on the referendum that's supposedly being promoted. VOTE NO, that is.

*Original photo from today's Cardinal, modified and displayed here as parody under Fair Use.

Iran Not a Threat?

Steve S thinks that's the case in his latest piece for the Herald:
Indeed, we may see that Iran’s possession of a nuke would bring about some very beneficial changes. Once armed with the ultimate weapon, Iran’s xenophobia — and the oppressive internal police force that rests on a fear of insecurity — will be exposed. The mullahs would be forced to end their rhetoric of the threat of the Great Satan.

I have to disagree.

I recognize that visions of a full-scale ground invasion of Iran are, at least right now, deluded, based on simple geography:

"Compared with Iraq, Iran has three times the population, four times the land
area, and five times the problems," Kenneth Pollack said during the war game.

The terrain is also incredibly mountainous, and we don't have a developed Northern Alliance style ally on the ground, as we did in the similarly inhospitable environment of Afghanistan.

All things considered, I don't see air strikes at nuclear facilities, especially by a non-U.S. party, as without benefits, however.

Even if the mullahs aren't willing to use the weapons for fear of massive retaliation, the simple fact of having them gives Iran a much stronger place at the international table. Nukes change the rules of engagement completely. As we've seen with North Korea, all a pariah state needs to do is take the Dark Side path of acquiring nuclear weapons by any means necessary and - voila - they're legitimized (or at least far harder to crack).

What UW Needs to Understand

This, Big Red Spin Machine, is what your public image is looking like right now out in the real world.

Save yourself. Quit complaining. Think smart.


David Brooks on Colbert Report

Brooks is on the Repor this evening, defending his NYT column supporting the sale of eastern U.S. ports to a UAE company. These interesting quotes aside -

"I do Phish concerts..." - Brooks

"Charles Schumer in heat is an ugly thing." - Brooks

"Hamas, the Democratic Party, you know..." - Brooks

"Why is he going on facts on this one?" - Colbert

"This is the Samuel Alito of port acquisitions." - Brooks

- I have to say I side with Colbert on this one in questioning the President's wisdom in permitting this to go forward despite overwhelming opposition. It's not racist, as too many keep speculating - I don't want any foreign entity owning or operating the ports.

MOA Award

This week's MOA Award goes to none other than Chris Dols for his childish - and most likely staged - display of outrage at the Cartoon Controversy Forum.

I forgot last week's, so I'll hand it out now to Bill Anderson. Why? For having the callous audacity to open a comment to a student Iraq veteran here with this phrase:
"If you know so much about Iraq..."


I'm in classes for the rest of the afternoon, and then I'm headed home for the weekend (hooray for not having Friday classes). Posting may be light, but from what my Sitemeter tells me, y'all don't read the ol' blog much over the weeekend. So apparently, parting (for the weekend) won't really be sorrow, sweet or otherwise.

See you later!

Give a guy props

Zach Brandon is taking some heat for winning a fake award:
So, worrying "that Madison may be perceived as anti-business" makes you a Republican? If that is the case, than the majority of the county is actually Republican. Who knew?

Heh. I'd say I knew...

Joking aside, click the links and show the man a little love (no, not Brokeback love, you nut). Brandon is finding out what a lot of moderates in the blogosphere already know - being a moderate Dem is wicked hard work. Dare vote for sane policies that help local businesses, and you'll be blacklisted by the far left. Vote conservative a little bit, but not always, and the right side of the blogosphere will respect you for being principled, if not embrace you outright.

Take a study break

I've noted Brian's Study Breaks blog before (although I'm too lazy to dig up the post right now) - it's definitely worth your time.

Today, he has an interview in Dane 101. He comes across exactly as he does in the blog - smart, professional, and geeky in a way that all the cool bloggers admire.

So go read the interview, then go read his blog!

Then again, sometimes math is good

a+b=hopeful, if you look at the hard numbers on how things are going in Iraq:
Overall, on the statistics alone, we are winning in Iraq. Then when one includes that there have been two fair and competitive elections, a fair referendum on a written constitution, the selection of a new Prime Minister, and a successful organization of a government, I argue that Iraq is a war and democratization that is going well.

Dean gets it right:
It's increasingly obvious what's going on: the Sunni Arabs have lorded it over everybody else in that country for about a century, and most of them benefitted substantially from Saddam's despotic rule. Now they've got to share rule democratically, and they don't like it at all.

The more time goes on, the less I care. It's like listening to white South Africans whining about how much better things were under Apartheid.

A Skeleton in The Annex?

Greenbush residents
discuss here.

GOP's Wiley: Kohl Challenger "By the end of March"

So far, Robert Lorge and one Mr. Reddick have announced as GOP candidates to challenge Senator Herb Kohl. Few see them as serious contenders, however.

Well, last night, in a story on Kohl getting interrupted in Madison by protesters, a reporter got comment from the state GOP about the prospect of a serious contender from the right. Tagged onto the very end of a State Journal piece was this little tidbit:
Rick Wiley, executive director of the state Republican Party, said the GOP expects to have a challenger to Kohl in the race by the end of March.
Who will it be? Tim Michels? Tommy Thompson? Mark Neumann?

The rather specific timing Wiley gives makes me wonder if it isn't Tommy and folks are just waiting to utilize the impact of a sudden splash.

Slanty Shanty Night Cast

Sounding off on Dane County Board, Cartoons, Ayn Rand, and a mysterious apparition above The Annex on Regent Street...

Great tunes as always: Thin Lizzy, Sinatra, ACDC, and Duke Ellington.


Yes, Elect Regents by Congressional District

A GOP Legislator was pushing a great measure recently to ensure that Madison and Milwaukee don't dominate the Board of Regents - which they certainly have under Governor Jim Doyle.
State Representative Rob Kreibich (R-Eau Claire) says there's a general feeling that too many members of the 17 member board tend to come from two areas of the state: Madison or Milwaukee. "Western Wisconsin and Eau Claire . . have not had anyone on the board of regents in at least 20 years," says Kreibich.
Enacting this legislation is a good idea.

By tying regent selection to congressional districts, geographical diversity is ensured, all while guaranteeing that less populous regions of the state do not get overrepresentation.

Here more about the bill here.

Push this one through; it's a winner.

"Iclandic" Cod?

A twist on the classic Wisconsin meal.

Must be some new kind of fish...?

Something to brighten your day

Ayn Rand meets CS Lewis: Aslan Shrugged

Ah - Wireless!

Run for your life!

Don't Sell the Ports to Dubai

To be blunt, I'm against the sale of eastern U.S. port facilities, currently operated by a British company, to a UAE-based company.

I appreciate the commentary of some who love the Wall Street Journal's editorial in favor of the sale on general free market grounds after careful vetting. I understand that the Coast Guard will still handle the overarching security concerns. I realize that Coastie governors like Pataki and Erlich might be trying to beef up security creds.

But of all things, this issue is not the time to start threatening a veto, President Bush - you should have used it earlier on spending bills. I can understand the bi-partisan backlash over this issue. It matches my own thoughts on the matter:

Here's the thing: For an administration that has painted every aspect of American life in terms of homeland security for the past five years, it seems remarkably odd that Bush would suddenly and forcefully pull one issue - which is quite logically linked to terrorist vulnerability - out of that paradigm.

But a UK firm manages the ports right now, you say? Well, I don't think that's exactly smart either. I'm for free trade, but with an understanding that America or American companies control the assets critical to national security. I'm concerned about Chinese state-owned companies owning iron ore mines in northern Minnesota, too.

One blogger also brings up another point - politically, it puts some Democrats to the right of Bush on his signature issue of security.


Lapidus makes it through, along with Ashok Kumar, for the District 5 Dane County Board face-off.

28% for a freshman on the isthmus who's not tied to PD is pretty impressive.

Onward to April...


UW-Madison Cartoon Controversy Forum - Live Blog Account

Here's what I would've live-blogged tonight from the Cartoon Forum but for the lack of wireless in Bascom Hall.

It is one massive post, and I've left it raw and unedited, except for a few pictures I've sprinkled in as appropriate and a few hyperlinks peppered here and there.

Only areas in quotes are verbatim from my seat in the hall. Spelling errors have not been amended!


7:00 – Chancellor Wiley and Laurie Berquam are standing below the stage surveying the crowd.

Mac from the Badger Herald is in the center of the table on stage, flanked by Adam Schmidt of the Daily Cardinal and the rep. from the Muslim Student Association.

There are lots of empty seats here in 272 Bascom.

There are 9 panelists up front.

Jeff Healy of The Mendota Beacon is here to cover the story.

I'm sitting with Opiate, J.E., and the Herald contingent.

(It’s sort of like church – there’s nobody sitting up front.)

Panelists are laughing, chit-chatting.

7:03 Wiley starts things off. He notes that more people will be coming in during the forum – don’t get excited, basically, there will probably be protesters

“one of the central issues in any democracy”

“one of our most important freedoms – freedom of speech and freedom of press”

“I can promise you this – you’ll take away from this evening memories and experiences you can’t get in an ordinary classroom (this is what a university is all about –real issues that are on us in the moment”

7:05 – Berquam takes the mic

The purpose is in response to the controversy

“portraying the prophet mohammed as a terrorist figure” – set context already

“respectful, intelligent dialogue”

“there exists a wide range of opinions on this topic”

“a contribution to the fearless sifting and winnowing”

Mac, Michael Thomas, White House Correspondent for the National Journal… Suri Kempe – Multicultural Student Coalition (I thought the rep was supposed to be Babar from the MSA?) OVAMIR is actually the rep. for the Muslim Students Association.. There are more I can't get right away...

7:10 Opening Statements

Kemal Karpat – a muslim, but not speaking as a muslim – professor emeritus who taught here for 36 years

There are certain sublime global rights and freedoms – freedom of speech, freedom of thought. There use in a responsible manner is to be applauded. Their abuse should be criticized – such freedoms can be abused when people have the means to use them to express their own personal preferences. Here is the danger of freedom – when it is in the hands of people who are not sufficiently informed of the world they are living in…when ideas are traveling from one end of the world to the other. Those ideas are affecting the Muslim world…

(Goes off on an anti-colonial rant.)

But Europe is not prepared to share with them the freedoms, the equality they’ve been preaching. Some of the demonstrations in Europe are demonstartaions against inequality that has been perpetrated.

Before publishing something, before saying someihtng, I believe one should look inot the background of those events w/o preaching high ideals that are not being respected by the people preaching.

“a condemnation of that [Muslim] world wihtou understanding that world, without finding ways to…"

(clapping violently)

They should be free to write what they want, but also free to accept the repercussions

Teju Olaniyan- political cartoons expert

A much larger philosophical issue…"the fundamental fact that there will never be a comfortable meeting place between religion and free speech"…we just have to understand the fact that there will never be a comfortable meeting between religion and free speech.

Second point… “the arguments are eloquently made…given the eloquent argument…I thought there would be…what we should be struggling for is not our sacred rights, but the sacred images…”

Each time I here that the cartoons are offensive – they are very offensive to me – the cartoons are very, very offensive – of course, they are cartoons, what do you expect?

“The cartoons are incredibly successful – more successful than the artists ever would have liked.”

“Cartoons are supposed to be offensive and we just have to accept it that way.”

Suri Kempe – MCSC

Multicultural Student Coalition

When one says the issue is about protecting free speech – the right to protect what one believes in – what is the point of publishing something you don’t believe in?

What is the cartoon saying? It is saying the religion he preaches is a religion of terror.

By repritng this picture – the Badger Herald as an institution is saying that “it says all Muslims are terrorists…”

Given the hurt as well as the grievance – could this objective have been achieved in some other way?

“An increasingly Islamophobic environment”

Newspapers in particular play an important role – the picture which the Badger Herald published “possibly putting in danger people in the community”


A Muslim student looking for signatures…was spit on,

Printing this image is harassment of Muslims on and off this campus…

"How can you ensure the safety of every Muslim in our community that you put at risk?"

Mac VerStandig - The Badger Herald

This is what I believe in…a room full of people

I believe a newspaper, when psosibl, should give people the information necessary to make decisions.

"We have a duty to our readers to provide them with all the facts."

“I believe in the fundamental Kantian premise...

"Last week, someone told me I had offended their religion. No. CNN offended your religion, The New York Times offended your religion...– they said your religion is somehow different."

We shouldn’t consider Islam unequal

"We printed this cartoon because other people weren’t – free speech was coming under fire."

"Both freedom of religion and speech come from the same amendment – they must be blind to each other."

{more, good stuff}....

"If the first amendment is not used, it does run the risk of atrophying."


Adam Schmidt - Daily Cardinal
quotes from paper's editorial on why they didn't run cartoon

“Just because you can print something, doesn’t mean you should.”

Personal observations. I respect the right of the BH to run the cartoon.

I respect that the cartoon was a difficult one.

It was quite a diff. decision – I respect that. It was a courageous one.

However, the DC didn’t make the same decision. And it’s not because the =- the ed. Board never discussed printing the cartoon. It’s an issue we didn’t deem necessary to discuss – it’s not an issue important to this issue, or so we though.

There’s more discussion as a result fo the printing as a result.

The larger problem in this debate is …that we can allow people to dominate, that we can allow embassies around the world to be protested and set ablaze because of a cartoon. I disagree with the printing on this campus, I also condemn the reaction around the globe. These are my personal opinions, not the DC’s.

(light clapping)

Dietram S. - Journalism Prof.

As a journalist, I almost feel it’s my duty to defend the decision. I’ve grown up in Germany. I’ve never seen any outrage in Europe to the degree that we’ve seen now.

Because every time there’s a disagreement – we’ll have this discussion. There is no right or wrong to this debate. My religious beliefs are not very storng. I feel very strong about free speech.

The only thing that matters in this debate is the process. We follow rules, we exchange opinions.

“Yes, they should be exposed to criticism – just like any other newspaper should be.”

(Gives the standard Voltaire quote on free speech.)

I’ll leave you with this – and I know it’s an extreme position.

Ovamir Anjum
MSA - Muslim Student Association

Violence over the cartoons is deplorable around the world.

The problem we’ve had…it is not an issue of free speech. It is not the

People are (crowd gives an “um huh”)

Irresponsible use of rights…

"Let us not import Europe’s demons to the U.S."

There’s a vicious cycle of ghettoization and xenophobia…in Europe

The publication of the original cartoon…a right wing cartoon…had also rejected Christina cartoons – sent a message to Muslims in Europe…

After four months, there were peaceful protests…

Muslim American community has been very different from that in Europe – muslims in America have integrated in a much more healthy way.

For this, American multiculturalism and pluralism…

Muslims are great contributors to America – “There is no need to throw a racial slur at them to bring them to the discussion table.”

"These cartoons did not insult one person – by necessity, an entire religious community, already embattled" – this has only caused destructive

Burn our last bridge of fruitful civilizational dialogue

“Issue is not free speech”

Paper’s claim that it was putting forth an idea in the marketplace of ideas is like “I will shoot at somebody, but I’m not responsible and I hope another bullet will come forth and deflect it.”

“The self-righteous attitude of those who republished – it amounts to contempt of an entire community.”

Compared to “free speech in 1930s Germany”
The message we get out of this is –

Wrong not those who wrong you.

(Large applause)

Michael Thomas - Professor

"I’m here in part because I’m a son of the Confederacy."

One of his ancestors fought under Stonewall Jackson.

Tells story of arriving in Madison, seeing a Confederate flag flying on a car.

He is also desendent of slaves, as well

Being afraid is very dangerous, can lead to anger, to hate, to violence.

America is America because of its heritage – part of it is painful, grounded in racism.

It’s about climate – we collecdtively have to construct a climate of mutual understanding.

Lack of understanding gets us into very big problems.

Sacred rights – “generally, in our ordinary parlance, we talk about crossing lines. There’s some examples of lines in free speech. Threats, libel, slander, obscenity, profanity, copyright infringement, harassment, denying historical atrocities, incitement to violence, and hate speech. Why do we have these limit? Because these subtract from the climate that we all want to live in."

“I believe this falls into the category of hate speech.”

“It brings out the worst in us.”

“We enjoy superlative comforts here in America - and we’re building it on the backs of the poor.”

Being inside and outside of a community is a little bit different.

Making ethnic jokes with friends – eventually somebody gets mad. When you’re inside the community, you have a little bit better understanding. “Chris Rock and Dave Chapelle can call people niggers, but Jeff Foxworthy couldn’t – you have a little bit different license.”

“Let us leave here tonight with a genuine resolve to make this negative incident positive…”

“Be not angry” – quoting the Prophet Muhammed.

Alexis Simendinger – visiting journalist of National Journal

Could I see a raise of hands of how many people went on the internet to see the cartoons?

(Most people raise their hands)

Lori Berquam – Question Time

What goes into decision-making of running things in newspapers?

DIETRAM: Editors must ultimately decide what to publish, who to alienate. "A watchdog function of the press – put the information out there and let the people decide."

(Bequam says “and what about the responsibilities?)

DIETRAM: I like a system like this much better than one by committee...

SURI: I just wanted to read something from The Badger Herald. “When we look at that statement – an open marketplace implies an equal playing field. It implies that any idea comes in without baggage." Context denotes

“When you print a picture like this…there will be repercussions?” – (seems like a threat)

“You are subjugating – really – to an Islamophobic environment.”

TEJU: Civility is something you can have your cake and eat it too. Or – actually – for the sake of civility, you can publish it.

“All religions have very little tolerance for this sort of thing.”

OVAMIR: “Freedom of expression is a noble myth.” “Let us not single out religion for its incompatibility with tolerance or pluralism…the most horrendous acts of genocide in this century were committed not in the name of religion, but in the name of ideologies that were rather secular.”

“The ideas of freedom of expression – if you let it run amuck, 51 percent of the people will kill the other 49.”

BERQUAM: Express personally or professionally the impact of this expression its had on you?

TEJU: “This has a greater impact on me – I come from Nigeria.”

“In an open society, there are checks and balances.”

MAC: “The saying that there’s no such thing as truth with a capital “T” - ..."we think it is a repugnant cartoon – we don’t endorse the premise – but it’s newsworthy."

“We just want to give you the story. We believe you are intelligent enough.”

“There are leaders out there who think the truth is perhaps too dangerous for the people.”

“The more I’ve thought on this, the more I’ve come to realize the American media has come to offend Islam – the notion that Islam is somehow unequal.”

(Crowd silent)

DIETRAM: “Complete lack of dialogue.” “A university is the ideal place for exchanging viewpoints.” “This is the one place where you’ll be…”

“I wish I had a mirror up here…you’re all sitting in factions, selectively clapping – you’ve made up your minds about who you’re going to support in advance.”

BERQUAM: Another question…what to do now?

MAC:“This is absolutely what we should’ve done…spurring lots of debate on campus.”

SCHMIDT: “I think it could’ve been done without the publishing of the cartoon here.” “People are talking about this – we didn’t need one paper to publish cartoon to continue this discussion.”

“While I respect the difficulty of the decision – it wasn’t that necessary to further the debate that was already beginning to be debated and will continue to

SIMENDINGER: “You’re doing it – you’re doing exactly what you should be doing.”

“You have an ombudsman?”

“And he sided with your readership?”

MAC: “I believe he made a good faith effort to.”

SIMENDINGER: “Well, I didn’t know if you had one. It’s good that you do.”

[Mac smiles]

OVAMIR of MSA: “I invite each one of us to figure out if this issue is about Prophet Muhammed. Why are people so offended by an insult of this man? What are his teachings? The MSA is trying their best to put that information out. Please go try to figure out these issues on your own.”

BERQUAM: We will now have questions.

{Laughter as tons of people go to the microphones}

Seven people at each microphone at least...

Questioner #1: There have been a lot of message online telling us to go back where we came from - I came from here, I can’t really go anywhere.

OVAMIR of MSA: “There are wars going on that aren’t justified. Violence, unfortunately, is a part of life in underdeveloped societies.”

“It is much more a political issue.”

Questioner #2: Here’s a comment from the BH feedback:

“Muslims are evil and desire to kill all non-Muslims…the Muslim world is nothing but savages.”

“This was the overwhelming actual result – what do you think about that?”

BERQUAM: “I think you’re directing that at Mac…” {laughter}

MAC: “Well, in the marketplace of ideas – [cut off by exaggerated snickering]

“No serious person is going to pay it any attention.”

Questioner #3: Badger Herald printed Campus Truth ad some years ago…our organization told you that Muslims, Arabs, and particularly Palestinians would have trouble with this…

MAC: “A member of your group wrote on our opinion pages…many people felt that

MAC: “Responsible journalism is telling people why 50 people have died around the world – the cartoon may be repugnant, but”

Q3 – “I’m going to sit down, because I don’t think you’re going to answer my question.”

*Mac says he thinks he did answer the question – stays calm.

Questioner #4: “I would like to refer everyone to the ombudsman letter.” “I have not heard any new explanation that merits my support on the other side.”

“Did you look at the cartoons on-line?”

MAC: “We did our best job to sift and winnow through beforehand.” “Bonfire of the Pieties in the Wall Street Journal"…violation of the Muslim religion to merely show the image of the Prophet Mohammed. But they listed the places in the Islamic world where Mohammed is portrayed…there is also a sculpture of him in the U.S. Supreme Court chamber.

Questioner #5: “I care more about human beings than abstract ideas of religions.” “I think many people have pointed out the dehumanization many Muslims have been victim to – I think your newspaper has contributed to that.”

“It’s not about free speech – it’s about consistency.”

“Would you publish cartoon of

BERQUAM: Is there actually a question?

Q5: That is the question.

MAC: “You seem to be wildly misinformed. I would publish it if it had the same newsworthiness as this one….Harvard Salient published cartoons of Jews being ...killed violently..steamroller…I would publish them.”

Questioner #6: “I was absolutely disturbed.” “Muslims around the world are outraged – and they have a right to be.”

{Goes on a tirade about imperialism}

Questioner #7: Goes on rant about War in Iraq – why won’t you publish other side?

{people in back of room shout out that the Herald prints the stuff every day}

MAC: “The Badger Herald can’t afford to send a reporter to Iraq.”

Questioner #8: “Every day down in our torture camps, the Koran is being desecrated…” “I just don’t understand this – I don’t see that this campus has both sides of the issue.”

BERQUAM: So that’s your question???

Q8 – continues tirade about investments board, Palestinians…???

MAC: "You can contact your senator, your representative, the UN..."

Questioner #9: “I called you over the weekend"… said Mac was hypocrite for not getting upset at talk of limiting questioners if they were disrespectful.

{Wild Applause}

MAC: “You said how worthless my life was compared to the honor of somebody…”

{Things get a bit crazy for a moment – people moving around quite a bit…}

Q9: “Well maybe…I didn’t say your life was worthless…you should ask me what I …”

Questioner #10: “I’m not a Muslim…”


Questioner #11: “It’s about more than freedom of speech – the impact it will have on the community. Newsworthiness…if you had a picture of a dead mutilated picture of a person in Iraq, even if mother begged you not to print it, would you print it?”

MAC: “I will trade you my apple for your orange. It’s completely different.”

Q11: I would disagree.

MAC: “We didn’t print it because we agreed with the ideology it expresses…”

Questioner #12: “You said this brings out the worst of us, but I think it brings out the best in us.” “Don’t you think a free dialogue is best?” “I’m Catholic, person I came with is Jewish.” “The misunderstanding of the Muslim faith is part of the reason we went into Iraq?” “Don’t you think a free flow of ideas is a good thing?”

Questioner #13: Chris Dols – “What do you think of this? To say that the riots are about the cartoon. The riots were not just about the cartoons – it’s dishonest to run half the story.”

BERQUAM: Chris, your question?

Q13: “Never have I seen your paper portray Muslims for what it is – a harassed minority.”

MAC: “Well, you asked …

Q13: “Bullshit!”

BERQUAM: Chris, your question please…

Q13: “Why didn’t you print my article?”

MAC: “Chris…”

Q13: {basically starts grandstanding and going wild}


Questioner #14: “What about CARE’s position?”

Questioner #15: “Basically, Muslims asked why did you print the pictures?” “The response that was came was ‘Because we can?’” “Why did you run it?” “When can we expect an apology?”


MAC: “I’ll take your questions in reverse order. I appreciate your comment, but we won’t be giving an apology. I stand behind our decision.”

SCHMIDT of the DC: “Although we disagreed on the printing, I, at least personally, don’t see why an apology would be needed.”

BERQUAM: It’s 8:45 – I’m going to close to the forum.



Cartoon Forum Account Forthcoming

No wireless in Bascom Hall this evening. Drat!

I'm going to dump the entire transcript soon in an uber-post.

Extreme summary of the event:

1. The panel was stacked against the Badger Herald in a big way, but Mac prevailed nonetheless
2. Chris Dols still loves to grandstand immaturely to get attention
3. People don't know how to ask questions in a q&a session

Tag - you're it

The Wisconsin State Journal has an article about the growing problem of graffitti in Madison:
No matter the source or reasons for the graffiti, the complaints about it have increased 215 percent - to 504 reports in 2005 from 160 in 2004, according to Madison police records.

But of course, there's some dimwittedness from the left:
Modern graffiti art is an urban form of communication - like rapping or break dancing. It has roots in New York's hip-hop movement, which began in the 1970s, experts said.

UW-Madison Afro-American studies professor Freida High W. Tesfagiorgis say its purveyors see it as creative expression, cultural identity and the claim of a right to exist, be seen and have a place in the world that commands respect.

"Inherent in graffiti marks . . . is resistance to capitalist oppression, inclusive of racial or ethnic oppression," she said.

But those who pay the price say it's all criminal.

"It's not art - are you kidding?" Downtown Madison Inc. executive director Susan Schmitz said. "That's private property. And the businesses are responsible for getting it off . . . within 24 hours (by city ordinance)."

More in a bit - class is over and I need to go.

Update: Back home from class. So, what do I think of all this graffitti nonsense? I do think that at its best, graffitti can be art - especially the murals created in urban areas. But unless a business asks an artist to do something on the walls - as some places do - then it is in no way acceptable to graffitti them. I was talking to a guy whose friend does graffitti - for a long time, he'd painted train cars (of course, without the train line's permission), but he felt that his art was getting ripped off. So he went legitimate - I'm not sure what that entails, but he's actually making money off of it now. And the line of reasoning that says this is some kind of protest against "capitalist oppression" is, sadly, exactly the kind of "logic" I'd expect to hear from the Afro-American Studies Department. It's also exactly wrong.

Live Blogging Later Tonight

Look forward to a live blog from tonight's forum in Bascom Hall on the cartoon controversy.

Something important missing

So I have a map quiz (gag me with a spoon) coming up shortly that didn't warrant more than maybe an hour of studying. But in that hour of studying, I came across something very interesting. Go to this map of the Middle East, and tell me what very important thing is missing. I'm going to wait a while to post the answer - if somebody gets it before I post the answer, that person will win something good.

Update: Wow, that was really quick. Mike F is right - neither Israel nor Jerusalem are labeled on the map as I have it (without zooming in). I find that ridiculous.

Cartoon Forum, Radio Show Today

We'll be talking cartoons, in part, today on the Muckraking Radio Show at 91.7 WSUM on your dial. They also stream live online, I believe.

The show runs from noon until 1:00 p.m. Feel free to call or AIM in.

Tonight, the cartoon incident forum is set for 7:00 p.m. in 272 Bascom Hall. It will be an interesting event, to say the least. Especially the reactions from various parties.

Yesterday, I ran into folks on Library Mall circulating petitions condemning the Herald. I declined signature. Wonder when they plan to turn them in...


Vote Tomorrow - County Board Primary

Tomorrow's primary in District 5 will determine which two of four student candidates will face off in April for a seat on the Dane County Board of Supervisors.

Both bloggers here at LIB believe one candidate, for sure, should make it through for further consideration.

Namely, David Lapidus.

The recent endorsement by The Badger Herald Editorial Board does a decent job of outlining the rationale.

Where to vote? Find out here.

Slanty Shanty Show Gets Raucous

We had a few guests on the show over the weekend - and things got a bit crazy.

Tune in and hear a Robert Frost excerpt, as well as our thoughts on canceling the Polar Plunge, 2nd District GOP Caucus, The Second Amendment Panel, and whether Jessica McBride will influence our votes for Attorney General.

Music ranges from Bachman Turner Overdrive to Star Wars to Overture 1812.


Many in the Republican Party have been concerned over recent Republican spending habits. Indeed, it's been a pretty lackluster showing - and Bush's apparent inability to prioritize and say no to certain spending bills has been atrocious.

Zach Brandon has an interesting thought regarding Republican claims on fiscal conservatism:
The GOP has ceded the issue of fiscal responsibility, but Democrats have been slow to capitalize on the mistake. Karl Rove may plan to campaign on taxes and fiscal responsibility, but they have no credibility on the issue.

Well, that's half the issue. I'm glad that Republicans have made at least some Democrats see the light on the needs for lower taxes. But that isn't the whole issue. The other half is cutting spending. This is probably even more important than cutting taxes - because ideally, the Republican Party is supposed to be the party of small government. Without realizing it, Brandon hits at that issue the best. Republicans have forsaken the mantle of small government responsibility. But Democrats aren't in a position to credibly pick that particular thread up. And until one party or the other decides it's going to focus on actually shrinking the government, many of us will continue to mourn for the old days of small-government Republicans.

Who's Your Favorite Obscure Prez. Gangsta?

Why do I ask?

Well, it's Presidents Day - and a campus paper ran an entertaining piece melding hip hop and former Commanders in Chief.

My favorite line from the column:
"Historians now regard Tyler as a lame duck president but also the Union’s most stone-cold P.I.M.P. ..."
As for me, I'd have to go with Zachary Taylor, the Real Slim Shady of the 1840s. No. 12 made his STANd at the Purple Hills of Buena Vista.

Old Rough and Ready didn't care if the South was his wife, he was going to rap about her - and lead the troops himself for a preemptive strike.

And, of course, he did stir up a little bit o' controversy when he died in office.

But you have to relate. It was hard knock life, being a lonely Whig in 8 Mile...having Jefferson Davis for your son-in-law...

Scalia Speaking in WI on Thursday

My favorite Supreme Court Justice will be in Milwaukee this week.

Here are the details.

Might be worth the trek.

Winter Hits Wisconsin At Last

And for some reason there's a walrus roaming the frozen streets of Madison.

And no, I did not include the igloo simply to offend the Inuit.

ASM Planning to "Disrupt" Madison Bars?

ASM, your student government, is trying to do this:

To overcome the potential roadblocks, Rath said ASM is
prepared to try a variety of tactics to persuade bar owners to buy the license
allowing 18- to 20-year-olds to enter their bars.

Cool. I actually think this is one of the more realistic ASM crusades in the recent years. But they seem to be going about it in an unproductive manner. For example, what exactly does this mean?

“Bars don’t want to use it. We’ll use tactics to pressure
them … things like having students call into bars or like some kind of
disruption of the bar,”
Rath said, describing the variety of methods
ASM is considering. “I think they’ll listen to it if we can do things in a way
to make them think how much of an issue it is.”

Is that a threat? "Some kind of disruption"? So ASM is going to hold sit-ins in bars that refuse to buy a license? Sorry, ASM activists, this cause isn't some glorious parallel to Montgomery, Alabama in 1960.


New York Times - ignoring the real context... again

I really wish the Gray Lady would shape up and learn that editorials should be saved for the editorial section. Here's the NYT, in a piece entitled Israel, in Slap at Hamas, Freezes Money for Palestinians:
Israel's cabinet decided today to immediately freeze the transfer of about $50 million a month in tax and customs receipts due to the Palestinian Authority, arguing that Saturday's swearing in of a Hamas-dominated legislature means that the Palestinians are now led by the militant group.

"It is clear that in the light of the Hamas majority in the parliament and the instructions to form a new government that were given to the head of Hamas, the Palestinian Authority is in practice becoming a terrorist authority," the acting prime minister, Ehud Olmert, told his cabinet. "The state of Israel will not agree to this."

Israel's position put it at odds in terms of timing with its main ally, the United States, and the rest of the so-called quartet — the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.

Now you might think that this was a mean, bullying tactic by Israel. You might say, "Well, gee, just 'cause the Palestinians elected their choice of government, doesn't mean that Israel should give up working for peace!" But you'd be wrong. That's because the Times hasn't given you, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story:
Just yesterday, Hamas came into power. As I noted, its first order of business was to indemnify itself—rhetorically, if not legally—from the obligations of Oslo, and to assert that, no, the nation of Israel does not have the right to exist in this world. Despite Hamas’ being essentially a successor government (and thus required under international law to abide by treaties to which the previous government acceded), the party has renounced any treaty that recognized Israel.

Can you guess what the second order of business was? That’s right:
to condemn Israel’s decision to cease sending cash to the Palestinian Authority. Specifically, $42.2 million. Since the PA and its new Hamas bosses run almost entirely on the swiftly-eroding goodwill of the rest of the world (terrorism doesn’t pay very well),
Hamas is now demanding that Israel reconsider its decision to cut funding. A representative said: “This is a faulty decison, and the Israelis must reconsider their decision. It will only increase hatred.” [links and emphases original]

Glenn is right: "It really is like dealing with teenagers. Except, you know, for the murder part."

I keep reading the Times, but I've really given up hoping that it will give me the whole story.

Inexcusable - Attack on U.S. Embassy in Indonesia

This madness cannot stand.
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Hundreds of Muslims protesting caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad tried to storm the U.S. Embassy on Sunday, smashing the windows of a guard post but failing to push through the gates. Several people were injured.

In Jakarta, about 400 people marched to the heavily fortified U.S. mission in the center of the city, behind a banner reading "We are ready to attack the enemies of the Prophet."

Protesters throwing stones and brandishing wooden staves tried to break through the gates.
It's great that the Americans in the embassy are saying this:
The U.S. Embassy called the attacks deplorable, describing them as acts of "thuggery."
But they're merely words. What is the U.S. actually going to do to prevent this sort of outright violence against structures that stand for its commitment to a peaceful dialogue with other nations?

The cartoons, it seems, were merely tiny snowballs at the top of a mountain that are now rolling downhill, gathering speed, and accumulating all the other excuses for hating The West. Anti-colonial, anti-corporate, and xenophobic sentiments are now flaring along with the religious blaze.

One blogger accurately labels these Cartoon Wars as a "farcical caricature" of Islam itself.

When will it end?


Facebook Ads in the Dane County Board Race

Looks like the race for the 5th District county board seat here in Dane County is going high-tech.

While I noticed today that Adam Korn took out an ad on thefacebook.com.

Here's the webpage it links to when clicked.

Decent site, but under News Updates, he has an article from "Capitol Times." It's also interesting that the site header proudly proclaims "Responsible and Effective Democrat" in a campaign for a non-partisan position.

Must say, an innovative - even if inevitable - development in campus politics.

Madison Polar Plunge Stopped Cold

The Madison Polar Plunge to benefit Wisconsin Special Olympics has been canceled!

With temps as cold as they were, I suppose that's a smart move.

It didn't stop a hearty few from enjoying the hot tubs on the shore of Lake Monona, though.

Maybe next year.

Also caught an interesting shot of Monona Terrace on the way home.

Check Out: Homesite.org

Polar Plunge Time!

Weather.com says it's currently -7 degrees farenheit outside and feels like -23 degrees below zero with wind chill.

It's time to hit the waters of Lake Mendota for this year's Polar Plunge!

A Note to All Bloggers

Ever use the acronym "MSM" in your posts?

I have.

Didn't know it meant this, though.



A thing that I'd like to tax

Owen at Boots and Sabers excerpts some interesting news:
Law enforcement officers harvested a dubious record last year—enough marijuana plants to rank the illegal weed as Washington state’s No. 8 agricultural commodity, edging out sweet cherries in value.

The 135,323 marijuana plants seized in 2005 were estimated to be worth $270 million—a record amount that places the crop among the state’s top 10 agricultural commodities, based on the most recent statistics available.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if, instead of pouring countless dollars down the drain to fight an impossible war against a substance that has fewer negative repercussions than alcohol, we would make it legal and tax it?

Wouldn't it be great if, instead of wasting millions of dollars, we would be making millions in tax monies?

Wouldn't it be wonderful if people realized that nobody smokes cigarrettes anymore because it's too bloody expensive, and applied that logic to a certain other kind of cigarrette?

But instead we're locked into an assinine "war on drugs" that makes no sense at all.

Some of us might appreciate this

I tend to take student journalists at face value when they say they're only acting out of commitment to free speech. College students are, after all, notoriously idealistic, and often radical in their application of those ideals.


How pro-business is Madison?

Zach Brandon, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite blogger-politicians, has the question and the answer:
Madison is pro-business. Literally... as in, one single business.

The legislation appears to be the solution to the long-standing clamoring by downtown, small-business owners to have their recycling picked-up by the city each and every week as opposed to using a private hauler or having it picked-up every other week like the rest of the city.

Thanks, Brandon, for standing up against subsidies - any kind of subsidies are foul beasts, destroying the free market that works so well. And this would be a ridiculous waste of city funds. Which means, sadly, that it's a fight you'll probably lose. But good luck!

A new enemy

A while back, Kris at Dummocrats suggested that we need a new enemy:
The problem is that our enemies aren't any good at sports. When Americans and Russians faced off in the Olympics, it was also a good matchup between Communism and Capitalism. For all of communism's many, many flaws, those Commies could sure build a great sports system. Or, alternatively, they gave their "women" some really powerful drugs.

Islamofascists, on the other hand, don't have much of a presence at the Games. To be fair, Islamofascists don't actually rule very many countries and in general, Islamofascists live in warmer climates. But aren't those just excuses? Maybe if Islamofascists want to prove to the rest of the world that their way of life is superior to ours, they should try to do it on the snow or ice or track.

Well, I've hit upon the perfect solution: let's make the Winter Games themselves the enemy! Think about it: clearly, winter doesn't like us very mcuh - witness the blistering assault it launched yesterday. And Americans don't seem to like games very much in general - we're getting fatter and fatter every day. So why not combine these two natural enemies, and focus our rage on the (incredibly boring anyway) Winter Games?

A Strange UW Olive Branch

McBride reports that UW employees may be involved in cracking open the unfolding Doyle Travelgate debacle.
UW-Madison employees were part of the contract evaluation team, and e-mails obtained by 27 News have showed they complained about the contract process last March. E-mails have also showed a top UW-System official was directed to complain to DOA management. On two different occasions, UW-System spokesman Doug Bradley has told 27 News that complaint was made to DOA's number two person, Deputy Secretary Gina Frank-Reece.
For once, it looks like UW did the right thing by questioning the sketchy contracting process.

I thought System's public image, its camel's back, was about to be broken, but this revelation might keep the final straw from falling.

Of course, my first question was this: why didn't UW reveal these concerns with the process earlier or more vociferously? Concern about Travelgate has been apparent since November.

Them with the longest legs, hops farthest

That may sound like something one's toothless, banjo-strumming Uncle Jed might say, but actually I just made it up. But it does illustrate one facet of the debate over evolution and Intelligent Design - the ability to test information.

But even more remarkable was the discovery that the first toads to arrive at the front invariably had longer hind legs than those which arrived later.

By comparison, the toads which are living in the long-established Queensland colonies have much shorter legs.

The case is being seen as a classic example of Darwinian evolution -- animals that are stronger, faster or smarter are able to stake out new territory and defend it against those that are weaker, slower or less astute.

The findings also neatly explain a puzzle surrounding the cane toad.

From the 1940s to 1960s, the critter expanded its range by only 10 kms (six miles) a year. Today, though, it is advancing at the rate of more than 50 kms (30 miles) annually.

The reason: with longer legs, the mutating species is able to travel further, faster.

Not testable: "Some intelligent designer (who may or may not be God, or G-d, or Allah, or Buddha, or whoever) was telling the frogs a good joke, and the frogs said, "you're pulling our legs," and the Designer took it literally, and now the frogs hop farther created the frogs and now they're good at hopping."

In other words, ID for the philosophy classroom, Darwin for the science classroom.

2nd Amendment Speaker Today

As Jenna noted, we have an interesting 2nd Amendment Speaker and Panel today here on campus.

The speaker, according to Donald Downs, is a former supporter of gun control who, after exhaustive research, came to believe that there is indeed a need for Second Amendment rights.

The panel looks great, too. It features Althouse, Donald Downs, John Sharpless, and Howard Schweber.
Is the Second Amendment Still Embarassing - and for Whom?
4:00 p.m.

2260 Law School
Should be worth your while - if you can make it up Bascom Hill without slipping and knocking yourself unconscious.

Oh, accursed math!

I've always hated math. Despised it. Loathed it. It was all I could do to pass basic algebra in college... mostly because I refused to go to class or open the book, because (say it with me) I hated math. The past tense, here, shouldn't be taken to mean that math and I have somehow reconciled our differences, made up, and get along now. Not so! I still hate math. So this article in the Washington Post:
Here's the thing, Gabriela: You will never need to know algebra. I have never once used it and never once even rued that I could not use it. You will never need to know -- never mind want to know -- how many boys it will take to mow a lawn if one of them quits halfway and two more show up later -- or something like that. Most of math can now be done by a computer or a calculator. On the other hand, no computer can write a column or even a thank-you note -- or reason even a little bit. If, say, the school asked you for another year of English or, God forbid, history, so that you actually had to know something about your world, I would be on its side. But algebra? Please.

Gabriela, sooner or later someone's going to tell you that algebra teaches reasoning. This is a lie propagated by, among others, algebra teachers. Writing is the highest form of reasoning. This is a fact. Algebra is not. The proof of this, Gabriela, is all the people in my high school who were whizzes at math but did not know a thing about history and could not write a readable English sentence. I can cite Shelly, whose last name will not be mentioned, who aced algebra but when called to the board in geography class, located the Sahara Desert right where the Gobi usually is. She was off by a whole continent.


Wintry Day at UW-Madison

The guns of Camp Randall.

Finally, a use.

The Arch with a snowy Old Abe.

Just a little bit of snow.

The snow on the lake seemed a strange pink as the light turned low in the late afternoon.

Snowed In at the Slanty Shanty

Stop by the Slanty Shanty for today's podcast.

We hit on everything from the snow lightning to the cartoon furor.

And, of course, there's a great variety of music as usual.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to strap on the snowshoes...

"Stick a sock in it!"

From Blogger Beer:

Blizzard with Thunder and Lightning

For the third time now this morning, I saw the flash of lightning and heard the subsequent roar of thunder.

Thing is, it's also snowing heavily at the same time.


Daily Cardinal Editorial - The Talons Come Out

This from The Daily Cardinal's editorial today:
We believe the Badger Herald Editorial Board did not act responsibility this week in its decision to reprint one of the controversial Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. In doing so, the Badger Herald Editorial Board did nothing to further the debate over the conflict of freedom of speech and respect for religion. Instead of adding to the discourse, they have inserted themselves into the center of it.
Nothing to further the debate over the conflict of freedom of speech and respect for religion?

Okay. What about this, this, and this?

I also wonder about the word choice:
"did not act responsibility" (?)
Finally, there is this tidbit of content to question:
We work too hard to gain our readers’ trust to blatantly offend their religious beliefs.
Hmmm. What about this and this?


Ready for Some Snow?

You better be!

Award from the China e-Lobby?

From the China Freedom Blog Alliance:
Between Heaven and Earth reprints a piece by Brad Vogel (Badger Herald) which wins Enlightened Comment of the Day thanks in part to this opening: "It is time to wake up and smell the cold war, America."
Posted February 1 at China e-Lobby. Who'dve thunk it?

The folks at Between Heaven and Earth blog even spiced up my Herald column on China with hyperlinks of their own.


Our own little echo chamber

Remember that cartoon Brad drew about the cartoon? Well, Internet titan James Lileks is on to us:
The cartoonist made a clever point, I think: the match isn't on fire. It doesn't have to be.