4.30.2006

Mifflin Street Block Party 2006















As the Badger Herald editorial aptly put it last week in an editorial:

"When thou seest the buds are green, get ye now to the porches. Tap the keg, sound the bass and raise thine amber mead on high.'Tis Mifflin!" - Book of Mifflin, 4:29-06





















Rocky the Raccoon was hawking his timely wares from the porch of one house.















Things were picking up after 3:15 p.m., despite a light rain.















Bands played on porches as throngs packed every available foot of space.





























Even the back yards were packed.















Mayor Dave stopped by at about 4:15 to check out the festivities from Bedford Street.















Law enforcement held revelers arrested in a bus just off the street. Hope you weren't there.

For more pics of the party, stop over and see Mike's collection.

4.29.2006

Happy Mifflin!

Where were you?

Pictures will emerge.

4.28.2006

UW Athlete Injured Early This Morning

A few friends encountered the aftermath of this accident last night:
N. Park St./Dayton
Male, 22, UW Student.

On 4/28/06 at approximately 1:49 a.m. several Madison Police Officers responded to a serious traffic crash on N. Park St and W. Dayton St. The driver of a car was traveling southbound on N. Park St, approaching W. Dayton. He stopped for a red light. The victim was following on a moped and slammed into the rear of the vehicle. The victim was transported to a local hospital where he sustained serious lacerations and fractures. Alcohol was a contributing factor in this case and it remains under investigation.
Turns out the moped driver was Badger football defensive end Joe Monty, according to the Journal Sentinel:
Joe Monty, who started 12 games at defensive end for the University of Wisconsin as a junior last season, was hospitalized with serious facial injuries early Friday after being involved in a motor vehicle accident on campus.
The eyewitness I talked to noted that eight squad cars were on hand and a great deal of blood was on the pavement. I will attempt to get pictures up later or link to any individuals with photos.

4.27.2006

Keg Kickball

A wonderful thing.

Happy Birthday, Opiate!

4.26.2006

Madison Overture Center: Roof Garden









All-nighters have their good points

I've been pulling more than my share of all-night paper-writing marathons lately, the doing of which has led me to at least one pants-wettingly exciting discovery: Chuck Norris once had a 1980s cartoon!
"Chuck Norris, Karate Kommandos" is one of the several dozen TV shows based around an action hero to come out in the mid-80's. This show, as far as action cartoons are concerned, hit all the right spots.

Pointless explosions? Check. Complete and utter disregard for continuity (i.e. Chuck Norris riding a motorcycle one second, and suddenly appearing on the back of a truck without ever showing how he got there)? Check. Children constantly in peril? Check. Ninjas, ninjas, and more ninjas? Check.

All of this, and Mr. Norris' physique which in this cartoon is about twice as buff as the actual guy (which is clear because he spends most of the show shirtless, for some reason). Even funnier, they call this show "Karate Commandos", but there's a minimal emphasis on "Karate." Most of the action involves laser guns and falling steel beams. The funniest scene I remember on this show is where Chuck Norris steals a bike from a little kid, and the kid gets all upset. Then Chuck Norris, as he heads off towards evildoers (via the kid's bike), turns back to the kid (and his friends) and says "It's Ok, Kids! I'm Chuck Norris!"

At the beginning and end of every episode, the REAL Chuck Norris, usually at a Gym or Martial Arts Studio, would talk to the camera - or us, the audience - about the moral of the day's episode, whether it be telling the truth, being a good friend, or... in an ironic turn, not stealing things from others. I guess that doesn't include bicycles?

Even though every episode has a lesson to it, I think the real thing to take away is this: we all know ninjas are better than pirates, but the show teaches us that even The Ultimate Ninja is not nearly as good as Chuck Norris!

And what's more, you can even see this cartoon for yourself - it is on the Cartoon Network at 4.30 am (Central Time). Hooray! (Also, for those of you without immediate access to a cable-enhanced TV, here's a clip to whet your appetite.)

Who Reads Them Thar Blogs?

Asks the oracle Althouse about her own site:
I guess the political breakdown is important:

Apolitical -- 1.75%
Democrat -- 10.92%
Republican -- 35.81%
Libertarian -- 25.33%
Independent -- 25.76%
Green -- 0.44%

LIB has always pulled a largely UW student readership, from what I can tell, with a pretty diverse range of views. But I know we have a few capitol readers, readers back home, and a few folks from the Badger Blog Alliance constellation checking in once and awhile.

I think Althouse's political numbers mirror the general U.S. blogosphere pretty well.

CRs Ramble On

Mike F grabs the proverbial ten-foot pole and touches on last night's College Republican election for new officers.

There were some surprises, some disappointments, and some unwarranted hard feelings.

If nothing else, Letters in Bottles came out of the evening as a kingmaker of a sort; both candidates for the chairship, oddly, were nominated by someone from this blog. Maybe "queenmaker" would be more appropriate, as both candidates were female students.

Anyway, I hope everyone in the group moves beyond petty differences and revs up for the big push this fall to decrease Jim Doyle's numbers on campus. That's what really matters.

4.25.2006

Dilemma

Checking my hotmail address, I stumbled across this Slate story on quitting blogging. If you'll notice, the author - Sara (dang, is it with an "h" or not? Now I have to click over and check) Sarah Hepola - is on our humble blogroll, so I'm a bit sorry to see her go.

Read the story, though - it has some clever insights to it(much like Sarah's now-defunct blog):
The blog was the perfect bluff for a self-conscious writer like me who yearned for the spotlight and then squinted in its glare. When I needed to pretend that people were reading, I could. When I needed to pretend that nobody was reading, I could. (For this reason, I never checked the reader stats on my blog, unlike most of my friends, who check it as regularly as their e-mail.)
[I'll admit to being a pretty addicted stats-checker. I'll leave the deeper psychoanalysis behind that to you, humble reader.)
...
I continued blogging for years, through cities and jobs and relationships, and though the blog entries never amounted to much, they always gave me a fleeting joy, like conquering some small feat—opening a very difficult, tightly sealed jar—even when no one is around to see it.

Indeedy - blogging is fun, and that's why we do it, I'm sure. Although Sarah wrote for rather different reasons that I do, it all boils down to the desire to say something, I suppose.

Anyhow, the thing touches on an issue rather close to the heart of this blog. With GOP 3 undergoing some sort of coup or something, and with graduation looming, and now with Sarah throwing in the towel, what should happen to LIB? I certainly haven't been posting much lately anyway. We report, you, well... some of you rant in the comment section.

But perhaps we'll conclude this post on an optimistic note:
I suspect I'll come back to blogging eventually. It will be something I quit on occasion, like whiskey and melted cheese, when the negative effects outweigh the benefits. Practically every blogger I know has taken their site down at some point—for personal reasons, for business reasons, for boredom reasons. It's no different from the way we have to turn off our cell phones or stop checking e-mail so that we can actually focus on something.

Mumps is In the Air

Remember that nasty cold I mentioned last week?

Well, UHS has me starting to worry a bit. I'm pretty sure I've had all the standard vaccinations, but the symptoms sound a little too close to home:
Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain and a general feeling of
discomfort. Commonly the cheek and jaw area (salivary glands) swells on one
or both sides within the first two days of illness.

If you are a student experiencing the symptoms described above, please call
UHS at (608) 265-5600 to schedule an appointment with a health care
provider.
Well, all UHS has ever provided me over four years was two flu shots. All that for paying over $100 in seg. fees to the service every year. Should I cash in? While I'm very thankful for good health, I think we should really have a good health rebate of some sort for those individuals who don't use resources.

Finally, should I even go to class today?
Persons diagnosed with mumps will not be permitted to attend class, labs,
work or enter childcare facilities.
Thanks, UW-Milwaukee. West Nile Virus, SARS, Avian Flu - what's next, Rubella?

4.24.2006

"Adderall abuse spans nearly every college campus"

This according to a Daily Cardinal piece today:

One UW-Madison junior, who wished to remain anonymous, said he uses Adderall as a stimulant during stressful parts of the semester.

“I don’t need it to focus, it’s just nice to be awake for long nights,” he said. “But it does make you think about things pretty intensely, which is nice for subjects like
physics.”


I've argued the topic of using study drugs at length with a few good compatriots. Basically, I feel its unfair to others who play by the rules. It also reflects poorly on personal responsibility and confidence in one's own abilities.

Frankly, there are numerous times when academics can seem overwhelming during the semester, like right now, for example (I should be completing my research paper right now instead of taking a blogging break). Sure, I could use a nap and a half right now, but the end product of my labors will mean all that much more to me in the end.

Admittedly, there are more critical problems out there to criticize. The pace and complexity of modern student life is, for the ambitious, no walk in the park. But in the end, students simply need to buckle down and struggle through the good old-fashioned way.

4.23.2006

Springtime in the Greenbush

Courtesy of the Dailypage:
In concert with the city of Madison’s 150th anniversary, the Workmen's Club & Italian American Women's Club are sponsoring a Greenbush Open House to display historic photographs and artifacts from the original Greenbush area, at the Italian Workmen's Club, 2-6 pm, free.

4.22.2006

Just As I Thought

When I heard the woman who protested Hu Jintao's visit wrote for a newspaper sympathetic to Falun Gong, I wondered if it was The Epoch Times.

I read the paper on occasion, and a certain commenter has all but called it a right wing rag on this blog.

Well, Wenyi Wang, the protester, does in fact write for The Epoch Times.

I guess protesting against the true repression of the CCP - whether it's communist or fascist these days - is right wing conspiracy, at least in the mind of one person from Madison...

Maybe I should've used the same post title as this one.

4.21.2006

Mark Green Slams Seg. Fee Silliness

And rightfully so.

Gubernatorial candidate Mark Green hit the nail on the head today, raising concerns about selective treatment of the UW Roman Catholic Foundation in the seg. fee process:
In a letter to Chancellor John Wiley dated April 20, Green told the chancellor he was concerned over what “appears to be discrimination” against the religiously affiliated student organization.

“I don’t want to see the University of Wisconsin Roman Catholic Foundation discriminated against because of its faith,” Green said in a phone interview Thursday, “even if the chancellor is using some other excuse for denial of funds.”

Green’s letter comes in the wake of Wiley returning the proposed segregated-fee budget to the Associated Students of Madison last week for reconsideration, with most of his recommended changes revolving around UWRCF.
Bravo to Mr. Green for his awareness of student issues; he hit a similar home run in his famous "Planet Madison" speech, which I attended, when he condemned the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate for raising its own student fees to supplement professor pay and took a hard line on seg. fees.

Green understands the value of the UW System, but he demands that it live up to higher standards. He seems to recognize that student fees are our taxes and that a continued increase represents an impediment to affordable higher education.

The treatment of UWRCF in the last eight months certainly smacks of religious discrimination. Chancellor John Wiley's excuses don't hold much water:
“[S]tate monies cannot be used to support religious activities, per the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
Ok...then you're against the Southworth decision, Mr. Chancellor - and potentially the entire seg. fee system as we know it.
"Wiley added in his letter that UWRCF was ineligible for funding since it was not a registered student organization..."
Well, if you check the Student Org. Office list of current Registered Student Orgs, neither is the LGBT Campus Center or the Tenant Resource Center, two groups that have received and will continue to receive seg. fees.
"and {UWRCF} could not receive funding for its maintenance and utilities because it was located at a “non-university” facility."
Alright, then JCC, Multicultural Student Coalition, Sex Out Loud, and CFACT, among others, who rent space in "non-university" facilities should not be funded either. Whether a group gets funding for rent or maintainence of its own facility, it shouldn't matter - the funds are going to provide a continuing space to utilize.

Please note, however, that all of my commentary is made under the umbrella assumption that we should do away with seg. fees and institute an opt-in system where individuals choose what superfluous groups they want to fund while the administration picks up funding of the few absolutely necessary services out of tuition dollars.

Green, though, should be commended for calling out the Chancellor's weak excuses for playing favorites.

Brats Today on Library Mall

Now that Lent is over, head down to St. Paul's on Library Mall for some tasty Wisconsin beer brats!
11:00 - sold out
$1 donation
All proceeds benefit the Apostolate to the Handicapped
Free condiments, too.

I will try to attend and do my trademark "brat yell," although I'm just getting over a nasty cold.

Oh, and don't worry - I plan to stay away from the Nescos. Wouldn't want to endanger anyone's health.

4.20.2006

The things you miss

Since my computer went kaput a while back (adapter issues - should be fixed today), I haven't been reading much of the blogosphere. Well, I'm starting to remedy that. Today's gem that I missed: The Recess Supervisor's take on the Republican turn to the right:
This, of course, is the usual answer from the right wing of the party. When Republicans lose, it's always because they aren't conservative enough. If they just pandered more to the extremists, they'd find a near-limitless supply of votes with which to overwhelm liberals and moderates.

Here's the thing. Who didn't know in that race that Ann Nischke was the Republican and Larry Nelson was the Democrat? Come on, Jessica. I enjoy your blog, but you've got to be kidding. Ann Nischke was practically cloaked in the Sykes/Belling agenda. Everyone in Waukesha knew who the Republican was and who the Democrat was. Besides, Ann Nischke shouldn't have had to have done a damn thing to win a race in a part of the state that is overwhelmingly conservative. The fact that she was the Republican should've been enough. And guess what? It wasn't.

I suspect that applies to the national level as well, really. It's not for nothing that Condi Rice, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain come up pretty often in speculation over presidential bids in '08. Now, I may not like McCain, and Rice may not be presidential material, but they all poll reasonably well last time I checked.

The counter argument, of course, is that Republicans were a reasonably effective minority party, at least at the national level, during the Clinton presidency. But I'm not sure how much I buy that - and anyway:
Granted, there are some out there who would rather have an ideologically pure minority than a functioning majority that has to compromise with itself occasionally but is actually able to deliver on a lot of issues. I think those people are crazy, but they're entitled to their opinions. I'm just glad that they're not the ones with their hands on the wheel. I think most Republican legislators, staff, and lobbyists are also thankful for that.

4.19.2006

King Elected Council President; Fourth Horseman Seen Riding Down Langdon

Oh joy.

Folks at the Herald used to refer to the Madison Common Council as "ASM Silver," denoting its frightening parallels to the current campus student government. With this development, I think it's high time we revive the moniker. Get ready for some inanity.

Taking the post at a comparatively early age is, admittedly, worth a morsel of respect. But mad props for youthful accomplishment aside, I'm still quite concerned about the direction King will steer council policy.

Plenty of his initiatives as an alder - ranging from the sick leave mandate to unwise zoning policies - have rightly inspired some ire. As Ryan S pointed out in the comments over at Right Off the Shore, though, at least this means Alder King won't be able to speak in debate much.

Also, the picture in the Herald looks a bit odd - did King dye his hair recently? It's looking pretty short for him, too, given his penchant for appearing as the icon of hippiedom.

Well, maybe the good President will confirm in the comments at some point.

If nothing else, we now have a council leader who reads this blog. Sometimes.

4.18.2006

Hu is Here

Chinese President Hu Jintao is in the house. President Bush needs to stand up during the visit and send some strong signals that America does not intend to stand idly by and get knocked off the top of the heap.

From yesterday's NYT:
[Hu] said domestic problems left China with neither the will nor the means to challenge America's dominance...

The overture - described as having improved Mr. Hu's ties with Mr. Bush despite the Chinese leader's generally aloof style - is part of a Chinese effort to reduce, or at least to deflect, American anxiety about the country's growing economic, political and military power.
Don't buy it, Mr. President. It's classic Sun-Tzu. The Art of War is all about convincing one's enemy that one is not a threat so as to retain the element of surprise and buy time for further strengthening of one's own position.

Michael Green at Georgetown University, commenting in the same article, anticipates a rigorous U.S. stance:
"But China is also trying to expand its influence in the world at the expense of the U.S., which is not something we are going to give them a pass on."
I sincerely hope the President will not let personal interaction with Hu and a host of messy poltical diversions at home and abroad blind him to the reality that China is our long-term strategic competitor. Just look at the increasing competition for oil and other energy resources.

This visit could prove pivotal to bilateral relations. Let's make sure it's not the point where a U.S. drift toward second place is measured from.

WTF

First Tom Cruise lectured Lauer...then he jumped the couch...now I'd say he's jumped the cuckoo's nest.

4.17.2006

Neat-o!

Wow, Metafilter finds some cool stuff sometimes. Like, for example, a service to make you into a propaganda poster. Then later in the same discussion, there's the best depiction of the Communist Party I've ever seen. Heh.

I guess that makes sense

Via the Halq, I learn the following:

You scored as Anarchism. <'Imunimaginative's Deviantart Page'>

Anarchism

92%

Republican

42%

Democrat

42%

Socialist

33%

Green

25%

Fascism

25%

Nazi

0%

Communism

0%

What Political Party Do Your Beliefs Put You In?
created with QuizFarm.com


I suppose it's significant somehow that there is no libertarian position. Really, it wasn't much of a quiz - when one of the 24 questions asks if you consider yourself a racist, I don't really know what that says. I guess hanging out at the anarchist co-op last week was the last nail in the coffin. But - amusing nonetheless.

Podunk and Proud















Ok, so I waxed a bit poetic about the value of small town living this week in my Herald column.

What can I say? A memorable weekend foray into sucker fishing in the moonlight inspired me:

As Wisconsin’s population takes another collective step “off the farm” and into the future, however, it would do well to reflect on what it is leaving behind. Even as Sconnies embrace Instant Messenger and ensconce themselves in high rises on University Avenue, we should remember where we came from.

Everyone could use a dash of provincialism now and then.

After submitting my column, as if to reconfirm the need for me to sound off on the subject of rural living, I got stuck behind an Amish buggy on a long steep hill in the Holy Land while returning to Madison. Since I couldn't pass safely due to the terrain, I spent about fifteen minutes creeping along at four miles an hour, enjoying the scenery.

Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

UPDATE: Someone found the column worthwhile.

Campus Religious Funding - The Saga Continues

Why has Chancellor Wiley decided to bring up concerns about funding the UW Roman Catholic Foundation this year after seg. fees funded some of the organization's expenses during the current school year?

Nobody involved in the long overdrawn funding process (this feud started back in September) seems to have any good answers:

Citing UW System Financial and Administrative Policy F20, Wiley said UWRCF could not receive funding because it was not a registered student organization. Wiley also questioned whether three significant portions of the foundation’s budget — activities, personnel and printing — could receive funding, because of the religious nature involved with those items, saying it was in violation per the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Though Wiley cites UW System policy to explain why these portions of the
organizations’ budgets cannot be funded with segregated fees, Conference
Committee members questioned why these issues were being raised this year and
not in years past.

When asked by the Conference Committee about the timing — why these issues were only coming out the year UWRCF’s budget came under consideration — Conference Committee co-Chair Rachelle Stone could only say it was a “really good question.”


“This is the year they decided to look at it,” Stone said. “You can read into that how you want, but that’s the answer I got.”

As for the UWRCF lacking student organization status, the same applies to the other five organizations whose budgets were returned.

Given U.S. Supreme Court caselaw in Rosenberger and Southworth - as well as aspects of ASM's own SJ caselaw - it's hard to see where University Legal Services plans to go with its gripes. As much as I disagree with the concept, student fees, under current law, can be used for religious organizations so long as they are distributed in something that resembles a viewpoint neutral mechanism on paper.

UWRCF should get its funding or none of the six returned budgets should be funded.

In the short run, UWRCF would be hurt by the second result - and probably have good legal grounds to sue. However, the prospect of drastically reducing seg. fees has a certain appeal. And moving any organization off the seg. fee dole could be viewed as a crucial step long-term.

4.16.2006

Happy Easter - Eggs and All




















Goose eggs unguarded on a backwater of the Sheboygan River.
















Our canoe startled a few sandhill cranes as well, who also left eggs unprotected.

4.13.2006

Golf Ball Size Hail Hits Madison!

Wow - huge hailstones just rained down in the Greenbush here in Madison, ending a nice little cookout in the front yard.

We pulled a random passerby to safety on the porch. The storm had been preceded by a lot of lightning. Everyone is now outside hitting the hailstones in Klief Park with golf clubs.

More pictures later; I threw a few hailstones, some which approached egg size, into the freezer as insurance evidence.

Cars seems to have suffered little damage, but it's hard to tell in the dark. Car alarms were definitely going off during the onslaught.

Glad that's over...

Tommy Boy - Please Take on Kohl

In today's Isthmus, Charlie Sykes criticizes Tommy Thompson's latest feints at dabbling in the upcoming gubernatorial election:

Republicans desperately need a candidate to run against Sen. Herb Kohl this fall
and they would like it to be Thompson. Instead, he’s apparently dreaming of
putting his feet up on his old desk in the Capitol. Tommy doesn’t realize he’s
the political version of ‘80s retro-pop, without the big hair. So he’s
reportedly on the phone to insiders, trying to reignite the old passions.

As gently as they can, they are trying to tell Tommy that the bus has
left, the ship has sailed, the train has left the station, the parade was last
week, we just sold the last ticket to that show, the ants got into the picnic
basket, and Elvis has definitely left the building.

I, for one, hope Tommy will challenge Kohl for Senate. It would be one heck of a race to watch. The WI GOP must stop ceding Senate seats sooner rather than later. And, as I noted earlier, a few hints about Thompson's entrance into the Kohl race have certainly been dropped.

Meddling in the governor's race at this point would turn people off. Stick to the Senate, Tommy. Try something new.

Seeing our newest Senator ride in a Harley motorcade from Elroy, WI to his swearing in at the U.S. Capitol has a certain appeal...

Do You Have a "Fluff" Major?

No, I have two.

Scott Mehring says it's all about the BSing.

Who does better in the blogosphere, though?

"Fluffs" or "Reals"?

4.12.2006

Digesting the Playboy Ranking

Last week, Playboy Magazine ranked UW-Madison the #1 Party School in the nation.

Various parties have opined on the issue, some embracing the title, others deploring it. The ranking, though, has many on campus agreed on one thing: it's a topic worth discussing.

Certainly a few concerns with the magazine's photo of UW fraternity members with campus co-eds in various states of undress can be raised. It was done in poor taste, perhaps. Maybe it was unwise to emphasize the school identity so heavily. It was, possibly, indicative of a juvenile instinct. The move may also prove inopportune given the UW System's dismal public relations image in the eyes of taxpayers over the last year.

But a hand-wringing column in today's Badger Herald written by one of the members of Delta Upsilon, the fraternity featured with the ladies of Madison in the magazine, does not address these key realistic concerns.

Instead, it seems more like columnist Michael Skelly took a sip of what sounds a lot like the feminist kool-aid:
we learned that while we might not be violent against women, many of the actions that we participate in, without realizing it, result in a society that imperceptibly supports continued male dominance. It is this dominance which leads to violence against women and the continuation of a value system in which women must abide by certain rules that demarcates them as objects for men.
Now don't get me wrong. Violence against women is abhorrent. A male-dominated society has been widely repudiated in this country. Pornography, undoubtedly, can prove problematic for some people - male or female - to handle as responsible citizens. Its potential to destroy the innocence of childhood makes it truly worrisome.

But feeling guilt because a few individual women on campus decided for themselves - or, in some cases, with the input of their parents - to pose in Playboy Magazine is not a very coherent reaction to the issue, especially from someone who is personally loath to harm women in any way. Like many intellectual themes on campus, the ideology that appears to drive Skelly's thoughts preys on a sense of victimhood to leverage influence:
Yet, the magazine reinforces the idea that in order for a woman to advance in life, she must do so not by the strength of her own character or ideas, but through the appeal to men
Several of the women portrayed in the issue of the magazine in question are not intellectual or academic lightweights by any means. They are certainly not limited to a Playboy appearance as a means of advancing themselves in the world. There are, as I type, more women on the UW campus than men, which speaks volumes about how the tables have turned since the 1960s.

And Skelly further fails in his narrow focus on women as victims; pornography is by no means limited to nude depictions of the female body. Even if his argument had labeled all pornography degrading as an attempt at unnecessary domination, I would have held it in higher regard, as it is simply a more sound analysis.

As it stands, I feel his stance missed the relevant - and, in some cases, worthwhile - arguments that offer a more cogent critique of DU's decision.

4.10.2006

UWM Column Critics - Give It Up

People, as I suspected they would, took some offense to my satirical column in today's Badger Herald arguing against a name-change for UW-Milwaukee.

My detractors, though, just kept proving my points as they attacked my sentiments:
One UWM commenter on the Herald site spoke of getting a "1200 on the ACT" - an interesting feat.

One e-mail to me from a UWM student contained the sentence "I dont think the UW-Miwaukee name change has anything to do with 'trying to be as a good as Madison.'"

One facebook message from a UWM student calling me an elitist misspelled the word "definitely" twice.
The black and yellow barbs and arrows aren't even piercing the skin.

Seriously, though, all in good fun, folks.

A question for the campus left

Where are you guys? Did you really all just get caught with your hands in the cookie jar? 'Cause otherwise, I'd really think you guys would have something to say about the whole thing.

The big shindig

So, there was a big shindig going on up at the capitol today. I'd completely forgotten about it, until I left my job there at 1.

There are two things I'd like to say about the whole thing. Actually, three. The first is a complaint. I'm a fast walker. I have long legs, and really don't believe in dithering. So when I had to dodge and weave through the crowd, I thought, "OK - whatever. At least I'll be able to get down State St." But that was not to be. Apparently, people believe it's cool to spread out across the entire street (especially in the sections where there's construction, so the street itself is blocked off) and then move at a glacial pace. Really - learn to walk, idiots.

So now that's off my chest, I have a modest proposal to make. I really think it's something no decent person could reject. I'll be the first to say, we should massively open up the number of legal immigrants we allow into this country. That's my part of the bargain. Now for the compromise I'd like from the left: agree with me that illegal immigrants should be returned to their countries. It's that simple. And as an aside, may I voice my hope that lawmakers don't cave to the illegal immigrant constituency. That'd be a weird group to make political deals with.

Finally, a question. I understand that much of the Catholic Church's pro-illegal immigration rhetoric is grounded in the idea that Israelites were once immigrants as well. My question is: really? Wouldn't that imply that the Church would also have to be in favor of wars of genocide? Because that was what the original flight from Egypt to what is now Israel was - the Israelis wiped out any other tribes in the area, and settled in themselves. It seems like a strange position to take, but maybe I'm misunderstanding something.

Madison Immigration Rally Up Close

I just got back from the immigration rally here in Madison - I couldn't post at the coffeeshop just off the capitol square in the thick of things (I forgot my camera, too!), but here's the comment I left here at the time:
I'm currently at Michaelangelo's at the top of State Street, live at the Madison immigration rally on the capitol square.

I'm trying to post; I just heard Bishop Morlino, Lautenschlager, Falk, Mayor Dave, and Colon speak.

A helicopter was stationary over the downtown for some time.

There are many American and Mexican flags. A big Che poster was on the steps as the Bishop spoke (?) and I've also seen the La Raza black eagle symbol. Most people are wearing white. There are many strollers in the streets; it's a wide sampling of generations.

A group of anti-illegal immigration folks was backed up against the veterans museum with signs. Many had shaved heads. One man's sign, who did not have a shaved head, said "Respect Our Laws and Border."

The police were keeping a close eye on the corner where they stood.
The rally was entirely peaceful from my perspective walking through the crowds. Many familiar campus activists were on hand; Bill from Madison, Ashok Kumar, Phil Ejercito, and the typical folks attempting to sell the Socialist Worker newspaper.

Several individuals with anti-Bush signs were mixed into the crowd as well, trying to piggyback on the good turnout that blanketed nearly a quarter of the capitol square. Also interesting to note were the flags besides the Mexican flag; a smattering of Argentine flags could be seen. A friend of mine from Chile was also present.

Here are a few of the quotes I picked up from the speakers (I'm not sure if they were originally in Spanish or English, frankly - only Bishop Morlino spoke entirely in Spanish, from what I caught):
AG Peg Lautenschlager: "It is my duty to speak out for civil rights."

Dane Co. Exec Falk: "You make Dane County a better place for all of us to live." "It is against the law to discriminate."

Mayor Dave: "We, as Americans, welcome immigrants to our country." "This should not be about building walls, but about building a bridge."

Dave Newby of WI AFL-CIO: "On behalf of the AFL-CIO, I'm here to say that the unions of America and Wisconsin stand with you."
I found the final quote the most interesting. It seems a little counterintuitive given the debate thus far across the country; perhaps they're seeking new membership as unions nationwide hemorrhage members.

It's interesting that the rhetoric of the day seemed to be addressing illegal aliens while skirting open talk of the term; overall, many of the speeches were caught in a blurring of the line between advocating illegal immigration and opposing specific parts of the Sensenbrenner reform bill.

4.09.2006

Seek Ye Employment?





Looks like the paper needs a few positions filled. Give 'em a shout if you're interested.

Immigration Rally in Madison Tomorrow

According to an announcement from Bishop Morlino at Palm Sunday Mass this morning, the Catholic Diocese of Madison is encouraging parishioners to attend a 9:45 rally at the Catholic Multicultural Center tomorrow morning.

Later in the day, protesters plan to march from Brittingham Park to the State Capitol. Bishop Morlino plans to address those involved at some point.

I see Dad29 already intercepted an e-mail about the demonstration yesterday. It looks like MEChA is involved.

The event, like recent rallies in Milwaukee and Los Angeles, is designed to protest congressional legislation aimed at illegal immigration reform. The bill would make aiding or encouraging illegal immigrants a felony, possibly endangering services currently offered by the diocese.

While I do not believe that offering basic assistance to undocumented aliens should be a felony offense, I do believe that Americans should avoid facilitating an influx of illegal immigrants. Congress should beef up illegal immigration prevention on all borders, which would go a long way toward eliminating or reducing the host of problems that spring up a result of laxity on that front.

While the majority of undocumented persons entering the county do so in search of a better life and economic opportunities, the Church's position of lenity toward all immigrants fails to reflect the modern context; yes, the Israelites and the Holy Family were once aliens themselves in a foreign land, but migrants in Egypt at the time, remember, could not carry suitcase dirty bombs. Much of the laity seems to agree on some level:
But a solid majority of Catholic respondents in polls believe that immigration should go no higher or be reduced.
Furthermore, nations did not have the capacity to implement a rigorous immigration system in Biblical times like America does today. In a nation based on the rule of law - even one that was built on immigration - it does not bode well to grant the equivalent of amnesty to people whose inaugural step onto American soil is inherently in contravention of law.

To those concerned about the economic rammifications of the current legislation, I would point to a sizable pool of unemployed American citizens, smaller American families, underemployment of teenagers who traditionally performed many of the "jobs nobody else wants to do."

Anyway, other rallies are planned around the country tomorrow. Peaceful protest is one thing, but some of the Chicano separatist sentiment displayed at some rallies thus far is a bit disconcerting. I hope the tenor of the events is constructive.

4.08.2006

Thoughts on Livestrong Bracelets








At first they were hip.

Then they got lame.

But what about those brave few that, like oak leaves over a long winter, have hung on, refusing to drift to the ground?

I saw one around a wrist today.

Mad props to you and your squishy yellow accoutrement - you really mean it.

4.07.2006

Wisconsin State?

Sounds a little too Michigan to me.

Yes, UW-Milwaukee wants to de-hyphenate and create its own identity, as Kevin points out at Lakeshore Laments.

He also says the University of Wisconsin-Madison needs to "get over itself":
Each UW has its specialty and its one of their best selling points. But Madison needs to get over itself, and the rest of the country needs to know that a UW Degree is a UW System Degree; holding the same merits if it was earned at Madison or at Milwaukee, Eau Claire, or Green Bay.
No disrespect to folks like Kevin or my brother over at UWM, but we'll get over ourselves when we stop having more Academic Excellence Scholars, higher high school class rankings, higher high school GPAs, and better parties than any other school in the state.

Check Out: Homesite.org

4.06.2006

Get Ready Folks






Unless, of course, a new logo emerges...

Where does ASM go from here?

Given the mounting uncertainty and instability of ASM, what does the organization do from here on out?

Can it even meet its own constitutional deadline of completing the spring elections by next week, the 13th week of the semester? Round Four just failed - what's to say Round 5 won't, too? If it is forced to violate its own constitution, how can it continue to function with any speck of legitimacy?

And will anyone care? Will The Student Government capitalize on the situation and gain ground? Will this satire become reality?

This has become quite the shammockery.

4.05.2006

ASM Election Cancelled, Referendums Now in Question - Continuing Live Blog















"I don't see electronic as any kind of an answer. This sytem is not something we're prepared to run again any time soon...paper is the solution right now." - DOIT Representative

"I don't have too much faith in it at this point." - Chief Justice Fox on the current electronic system

Fox has just moved to use paper ballots in the rescheduled election. The motion has been seconded; more details will be determined tomorrow or at a future date.

The motion, Fox clarifies, is not to exclude the use of an electronic scanner for ids.

"This election's f-ed up, man." - a person standing on the sidelines of the meeting, muttering under his breath

The Commission is now considering the fact that religious observations are next week; SJ, the SEC chair now points out, has policy forbidding business on observed holy days.

Chair Leonard, wearing a tie and blue shirt, is now walking around the table and trips a few times - hopefully coincidence, not omen.

The committee is now talking about whether or not photo id can be required.

Committee notes that it must leave the chamber at 11:00 p.m.

Allison Rice, matriarch of ASM - and a rather nice person - now speaks: she outlines the old process of paper ballot voting in ASM.

Scene Report: ASM officers Eric Varney and Dylan Rath are present, numerous candidates, Student Government members, DOIT Staff, other reporters

*******Finally, the vote on going to paper ballots with possiblitiy of electonric id scanning: Motion passes. "We will be using paper ballots and there will be a verification using student ids." - Chair Tim Leonard

Justice Tyack - Initiatives - concerns he would like to bring up about referendum portion. "There were 436 less ballots than they have voter ids from." "One thing that this doesn't take into account - it is impossible to know how many people had impartial ballots." "There is a ballot for that person, but that ballot is incomplete." "It is impossible to know how many more people had incomplete ballots."

"This brings up enough questions in my opinion that we should consider re-running the referendums."

"What beyond those were bad votes? We have absolutely no way of knowing how many ballots were..."

This is huge! The living wage referendum could be invalidated under this.

Chief Justice Fox: "While we may have 43some confirmed, we know nothing beyond that...so if you decide to rerun initiatives based on pure speculation, I would be very cautious if I were you."

Meeting adjourned: 10:54 p.m. Commission will be meeting at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow TITU.
___________________
Hmmm...I'm suddenly feeling vindicated for my vote a few years ago against going to all online elections in ASM.

- Current ASM Candidate Election Cancelled -

Live Blog from the Red Gym

10:16 p.m.

"That motion passes. The current election for ASM candidates has been cancelled." - SEC Chair Tim Leonard

"We're at Two Strikes Here"

Chief Justice Nick Fox, speaking in favor of using paper ballots in a new election, assuming it's rescheduled.

This is the continuing live-blog of the ASM Student Election Commission emergency meeting

Candidate Lopez: "I'd rather have a low turnout of voters than have none." On why she wants paper ballots.

Candidate Vanessa Ferniza: "You should do the paper ballot." "We should try to work within ASM." "There needs to be another election and it should be done with paper ballots."

Candidate David Lapidus notes that not voting is a felony in Australia; lays out suggestion that perhaps students be required to vote or face the loss of some privilege.

Candidate Kellie Sanders sounds off against paper ballots, as it would disenfranchise students who don't live in the dorms.

"Although I like my job alot, and I like seeing my name in the Badger Herald every day...I don't want to point out how many times we have violated our bylaws and constitution..." - ASM Chair Eric Varney "This will come from students one way or another." - on the cost of another election

Candidate Andrielle (sp?) - "Have faith in the people. People who voted two times will vote again." "I want my money back - all of it."

People are now arguing about whether to use a paper ballot or electronic election - Bob Thelen, III says it's going to be very expensive to go paper ballot.

Ashok Kumar: "I think it's a problem if have another electronic ballot because DOIT is looking pretty ridiculous right now."

- Alert - Living Wage Referendum May Have Had Errors

"436 votes"

The DOIT Representatives have just noted to the SEC that the referendum portion of the ASM election, recently concluded, appears to have had over 400 error votes or votes unaccounted for.

"The gap was 436 missing ballots on the referenda voting, which is less than the difference." - DOIT Rep.

Committee has recessed.

Geez - this is getting ridiculous!

Live Blog: Folks Disgruntled with ASM's Failure at Election Commission Meeting

Live blog, Student Election Commission Meeting:

"ASM is some bullshit." - unknown candidate

Candidate Sarah Turner suggests a paper ballot.

"I'm extremely dissatisfied." - Jackie Goessl, candidate

"Why there was no oversight of the election process? Why there was not a better relationship with DOIT? I find it absolutely reprehensible." - Steve Schwerbel, Student Government

Tensions are flaring; the candidates are outraged, it seems.

"We need to look forward to solutions." - David Lapidus, SC and SSFC Candidate

Sol Grosskopf asks what precedent says and what will happen if voting is not done by May 1 deadline for new session.

Joel Feingold of SLAC is concerned about the living wage referendum results.

SEC Chair Tim Leonard - drove back today from work in the Dells, met with SEC, people from University; I must say I feel a bit sorry for him - this ongoing fiasco has to be hell for someone trying to go to school and work at the same time.

SJ Chief Justice Fox - "It's become apparent for the second time around, the results have been corrupted again. We can't keep using this system..."

"Personally, I would be in favor, should we redo this election, to go to paper ballots."

"It reduces the electronic complexities of it."

"An estimated 94 ballots were found to be errors."

"This body needs to realize that we cannot keep going on with this election."

Justice Tyack: "8% of the votes are bad." "There are very serious problems with the voting system."

"I move to cancel the election as of right now." - 9:29 p.m.

"Second." by Commissioner Meiselmeier (sp?)

Debate ensues; this could be a while.

ALERT! DOIT Recommends ASM Cancel Election AGAIN















Live at the Red Gym on the UW Madison Campus.

ASM candidates are gathered in the MCSC Lounge.

******DOIT recommended to the Student Election Commission that ASM cancel the current candidate election - which was rescheduled after last week's failure.

DOIT reps say numbers are not being properly tallied.

Interim Dean of Students Laurie Berquam said she believes ASM did everything it could to ensure the integrity of the election.

"I am completely and utterly displeased with ...the Department of Information Technology." - ASM Chair Eric Varney

"This is ridiculous. Had this not been a monopoly by DOIT..." speaks of going to a private provider next time. - Varney

This does not bode well for ASM - it certainly heaps fuel onto the fire started by The Student Government.

MORE SOON

You've Gotta Fight...

For your right to paaaarrr-tay!
In its upcoming May 2006 issue, to hit newsstands this Friday, Playboy magazine ranked the University of Wisconsin No. 1 in its list of top 10 party schools, a Playboy representative said Tuesday.
As ASM Chair Eric Varney once said about our notoriety for partying: we work hard and play hard.

The chief reasons for our #1 ranking, Halloween and Mifflin Street Block Party, don't exactly advertise all the time spent toiling away in labs, getting to know Helen C. or sequestered in the stacks - important parts of daily reality for most students here.

On the whole, I think we strike a healthier balance than many might guess.

Slanty Shanty Show - Election Recap

Our latest podcast rundown tackles the aftermath of the statewide and campus elections.

Stop by and check it out.

Incidentally, this is also our 1,000th post here at LIB. Pretty fecund, huh?

Are Republicans this clever?

Rove is a pretty underhanded dude, to be sure - but is he clever enough to do this? All I can say is, the book is such a dumb idea, whoever is responsible for it should be shot.

4.04.2006

Elections, Elections - Results Galore

Quick rundown before I get back to my homework:

ASM Results:
- Union Referendum Fails - Thumbs Up
- Living Wage Referendum Passes - Thumbs Down (wait for lawsuits, though)

Dane County Results:
- Kumar Wins, Lapidus surprisingly strong showing again given district

Madison Results:
- Mathiak Wins School Board - Thumbs Up
- Cole Loses School Board Narrowly - Thumbs Down
- Cut and Run Referendum Passes - Thumbs Down (Big Surprise)

Statewide:
- Some Door County and other Municipalities Vote No to Cut and Run - Thumbs Up

Analysis later. Mac has a smidgeon for now, as does Freedom Fighter.

The Election Winds Down

I was voter 332 at the polling place in the basement of St. James Church in the Greenbush.

I'm hoping my vote in the ASM referenda from last week actually counts when the results are tallied.

We'll see.

"the reactionary Student Government "

Well, there you have it folks.

The Daily Cardinal makes an editorial statement in a news article and lets us all know where it stands on The Student Government.

This is not surprising, given the paper's obsessive attempt to pin the new government on David Lapidus in a number of news articles and cartoons.

Anyway, go out and vote today.

UPDATE: I now see that the hard copy version differs from the online version and says "the reform-minded Student Government" - perhaps the editors at the Cardinal quashed a biased report and the unedited version got online. Hopefully that's the case.

4.03.2006

Everybody Say "Majkrzak"

A model Kiel citizen gets his due in the Sheboygan Press for his work in local history:
"It's amazing," Majkrzak said. "As small as Kiel is, I'd say there must be somewhere in the vicinity of 85 or 86 three-ring binders of historical documents, including pictures."
I was fortunate enough to make it back yesterday for the dedication of the archives collection.

As Ed's former "sidekick" on all things historical, it was great to see local history preserved in a permanent location. Congrats.

Column Feedback

Generally, as a weekly columnist, I take online feedback with a dump truck of salt. It's generally laughable and unworthy of concern.

A commenter on today's column, however, actually comes off sounding somewhat sane for an online public forum. However, the anonymous critic is still offbase in his or her accusations. Take this as a compliment to your writing skills, though, anon - I'm going to take a moment to refute you:
Vogel claims to be an "internal" critic of ASM. I would not describe him as an active or prominent member of ASM at any point in the past four years. At best, he is someone that has dabbled in various aspects of student governance and then removed himself from office with a flurry of anti-ASM rhetoric. Take that or leave that as you will.
Ok...I'll leave it, because it's inaccurate. I tried to get the Opt-Out Referendum passed my freshman year to end seg. fees as we know them while serving on the ASM Shared Governance and Legislative Affairs Committees. I served on the Student Judiciary as Vice Chief Justice while a sophomore, but some of my dissents against the ASM status quo in a few decisions were so scathing they are not up on the Student Judiciary website. I served on SSFC junior year and critiqued seg. fee policy ad infinitum.
More importantly, the recent election debacle has led to talk of this new student government. This movement is being fronted by some of the most hypocritical of students on this campus. For one, Vogel, who is adamantly against the use of segregated fees -- often referring to them as the "bane of his existence" -- serves on the executive board of the UWRCF, the organization which fought to no end and received the highest budgetary increase this year.
Seg. fees are indeed a bane of my existence. I do, in fact, continue to serve on the UWRCF board of directors. To imply that I'm the driving force behind the Roman Catholic Foundation pursuing fees, though, is to confuse correlation and causation in a big way. Yes, I happened to be one member on the 16-person board of the organization as it's pursued seg. fee funding, but, as I've pointed out on this blog before, I personally think that dependency on fees is detrimental to the foundation (or any org.) in the long run. My second post on the UWRCF funding squabble back in September captures the thread of my continued opposition to seg. fees despite the organization's pursuit of more fees:
Until the current seg. fee system is modified (and I really hope it is)...
Recognizing that there were too many hands in the cookie jar for change to occur at the time, I repeatedly called for just treatment of all groups under the current system until it can be changed. Not even that basic hope translated into reality, though.

Anyway, I think the most interesting tidbit in the feedback on my column was this separate gem from Bill Anderson, which I will take as an endorsement of The Student Government:
Bill Anderson (April 3, 2006 @ 12:10pm):
Viva la revolution

Madison Springs to Life

































































The ultimate sign that summer is coming to Wisconsin: road construction has begun.

Thank the Recruiters Event This Afternoon

From the College Republicans e-mail today:

Come out to this afternoon for the CR Thank the Recruiters event!

Last Monday, March 27th, an unknown assailant vandalized the Army Recruiting Center by throwing a brick through their window. As the Daily Cardinal reported the next day- "According to Sergeant First Class Bruce Bovenkerk, station commander for U.S. Army Recruiting, the vandalism was not the first of its kind at the Army Recruiting Station. 'Our window has been broken many times,' Bovenkerk said. 'It's part of the job. We've got insurance and they cover it. So nobody got hurt and nobody got injured. We board it up and put a new one in. It's business as usual.'"

This should not be business as usual for the men and women in uniform.
Please come out this afternoon- April 3rd at 1:30 p.m. in front of the Army Recruiting Center at University Square to thank these recruiters and show them what "business as usual" should really mean.

For more on why it's important to make a stand, check out this post where Freedom Fighter spars with an anti-war protester who found inspiration in the bricking of the recruiter station. Jenna, naturally, incited the firestorm when she (gasp!) condemned the destruction of property.

Vote Early, Vote Often - Just Keep Voting

If you're unsure about the status of your franchise given the recent spate of crises in the spring ASM elections, go here and try to vote. Again. Just keep voting until you're blue in the face - you never know which votes might actually count! Take what comfort you will in this message from the SEC:
If you have already voted for the referenda, your votes are safe, recorded, and counted. If you have not already voted, please go to and vote for the two referenda.

If you are not sure if your vote has counted for the referenda, please go to and attempt to vote. If you are not able to vote, it is because your vote has been safely recorded and will count towards the outcome of the referenda election.

Because there are other technical difficulties with some candidate elections, DoIT and ASM Staff are working diligently to correct the errors. ASM will hold a separate election for ALL candidates next week, from 8am Wednesday April 5 until 8pm on Friday, April 7. We strongly encourage all students to vote again in the candidate elections.

Even as The Student Government gets off the ground, it's important to keep student seg. fees low if ASM does continue to exist. Generally, vote NO or vote RobinHood Slate for fiscal responsibility.

With both campus dailies seemingly open now to the idea of a new government, The Student Government appears to be gaining traction. A listening session meeting tomorrow night will solicit student input for the arrangment of the new entity, I'm told.

While he's probably too concerned about his image before tomorrow's county board election, it's odd that Ashok Kumar has not weighed in on The Student Government yet. I find it hard to beleive that folks in his camp wouldn't welcome the idea, even if only to influence the new organization with a particular mindset or direction.

4.02.2006

More bloggity goodness

You should go check out the WIsrael Blog - there's some interesting stuff going on.

The First Order of Business isn't quite up yet, but I'm quite sure the fine gentlemen behind it will have many interesting things to say shortly. And hey - one of 'em's a triple major! Hooray!

Finally, I think this is the final proof that we need Student Government: we're already rock stars!

I promise to post more here, but this whole revolution thing has got me a bit preoccupied. Hasta la revolucion siempre? No taxation without representation? Pick your poison!