Monday, July 31, 2006

Traditional Marriage Is Not a Religious Establishment

Via the Religion Clause blog, one of the dissenters in last week's Washington Supreme Court decision upholding that state's Defense of Marriage Act, argued that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is a violation of the Establishment Clause. Justice wrote:

What we ought not to address is marriage as the sacrament or religious rite--an area into which the State is not entitled to intrude at all and which is governed by articles of faith.... As succinctly put by amici ...: "To ban gay civil marriage because some, but not all, religions disfavor it, reflects an impermissible State religious establishment."... After all, we permit civil divorce though many religions prohibit it--why such fierce protection of marriage at its beginning but not its end?...

To many, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriages are contrary to religious teachings. But none of the plaintiffs in the cases before us today seek acceptance of same-sex marriage within a particular religious community. They seek access to civil marriage. Some churches and religious organizations may refuse to solemnize same-sex unions, and that is their right in the free exercise of religion under our constitution. A religious or moral objection to same-sex marriage is not, however, a legitimate state interest that can support the DOMA....

[R]eligious restrictions on the institution of marriage have never governed civil marriage in this country, nor would it be constitutionally permissible for them to do so. For example, historically many religions have strictly forbidden marriage outside of the denomination, but these churches could not prevent interdenominational civil marriages because "marriage was [ultimately] a state matter, not subject to . . . religious restrictions."... This court cannot endorse the use of state law to impose religious sensibilities or religiously-based moral codes on others' most intimate life decisions.... The DOMA reflects a religious viewpoint; religious doctrine should not govern state regulation of civil marriage.

Is this right? Can the Establishment Clause ("Congress shall make no law respecting the Establishment of religion"; often referred to as the "separation of church and state")really prohibit moral judgments based on religious faith? All sorts of moral judgments are based on religious faith and, I would argue, that every moral judgment is based on some first order principle, i.e., something that you simply must accept or reject and which cannot be proven. Wouldn't a rule of law that said you can base a law on any first order principle except a religious one itself be an establishment of secularism? I know I am a broken record on this, but wouldn't it have required telling the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King to shut up? If same-sex marriage is constitutionally compelled, it can't be because traditional marriage is an establishment of religion.

Not such a Brave Heart

I can use the Mel Gibson incident as the occasion to comment on the commonly held assumption that when one uses a racial epithet or gender-based slur in anger, it reflects ones' true attitudes; an innate racism or sexism.

I think that's not true. In anger, people often grasp at the most hurtful thing they can say. If I'm fit to kill George, I may call him a dirty whatever, not because I hate whatevers, but because, at least right now, I hate George and I know this will sting.

But I can't use the Mel Gibson incident as an example of that. He didn't know if the cops were Jewish (he had to ask), so I am afraid that, in this case, his tirade does reflect some type of latent anti-Semitism.

Gibson is by all accounts a religious man. He ought to recognize that this is a serious sin. He needs to get to a priest.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Great stuff on Israel

I don't simply post lengthy comments from other bloggers, but I'm not sure most of my fourteen readers will have seen this from David Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy. After describing the murderous cretin that Hezbollah was trying to get sprung from Israeli custody by kidnapping Israeli soldiers (and killing others in the process), Bernstein writes:

Kuntar [the murderous cretin] should have been executed well over twenty years ago, not necessarily in a pleasant manner. Unfortunately, Israel does not have the death penalty except for Holocaust perpetrators, leading to consistent-hostage taking to try to win the release of the likes of Kuntar.

In any event, Kuntar came to mind because I received an email from a reader suggesting that I try to understand things from the perspective of the supporters of the Palestinian and Party of God terrorist groups. Sorry, but while I'm reasonably well read on the radical Arab perspective, whatever someone's grievance I refuse to "understand" those who idolize cold-blooded murderers of children. [Remember the exhibit at a Palestinian university celebrating a mass terrorist murder at Sbarro's Pizza in Jerusalem?] The fact that Kuntar is a hero to the Party of God and to the Palestinian terrorist groups reveals just about all one needs to know about them.

I recently read Rabbi Daniel Gordis's book, Home to Stay, about his aliyah to Israel. The book was only moderately interesting, mostly for its account of how Gordis went from being an ultra-dove when he moved to Israel to being much more of a realist after Camp David 2000. Gordis did made one point in particular that stuck with me: living in Jerusalem (one of the more "right-wing" parts of Israel) during the worst of Palestinian-Israel violence of the Second Intifadah, he never heard a single Israeli ever express glee at [unintended, but inevitable given the urban warfare involved] civilian deaths on the Palestinian side. [Someone is bound to bring up the few on the lunatic fringe who consider Baruch Goldstein a hero. Duly noted, but it's called the lunatic fringe for a reason.] Some accepted these deaths as the unfortunate price of defeating the Second Intifadah, others protested against them, but no one ever celebrated them, or expressed joy at the suffering of the survivors. Contrast that with grisly recreations of pizzeria bombings, candies being handed out in Palestinian areas when a terrorist murder takes place, the celebrations in the streets in 9/11, and so on, and you see the difference between a decent, modern society, and its enemies.

To the same effect is Charles Krauthammer's latest.

The misery in Lebanon is tragic, but it is on the agressor,Hezbollah, who chooses to conduct its war by hiding behind women and children.

Shark and Shepherd on Dead Tree

My latest column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is in this morning's paper and can he read online.

While I hope to continue to be in the paper from time to time, the new community columnists will be announced tomorrow and start on August 7. Check them out.

Don't bring me that weak stuff

Keith Schmitz, from something called the "mighty" Grassroots Northshore, is guestblogging for Jay. He thinks he gave the smack down to my column in this morning's Journal Sentinel. I am not sure what he thinks was inaccurate.

He doesn't dispute the Rand Corporation's finding that, of the 400,000 frozen embryos that it estimated were in existence at the time, only 11,000 are actually available for research. Maybe he thinks that I was saying that there were only 11000 embryos total, but I quite clearly did not. The point is not how many exist, but how many can be used for research.

I went on to suggest that the reason there may be only 11,000 embryos for research is that the parents of these frozen embryos can't bring themselves to give them up for scientific experiments, citing an article in the lefty magazine Mother Jones (which I sarcastically referred to as a journal of the religious right).

Keith makes a big point of how you can read the article online and see how I misrepresented it, but doesn't deliver. He says the parents are "conflicted." Here's what I said:

It seems that the embryos' parents aren't too keen on the idea. In a recent issue of that notorious religious right magazine Mother Jones, journalist Liza Mundy writes that couples who have participated in the creation of embryos for in vitro fertilization stubbornly refuse to see the embryos as biological material. It seems that, in overwhelming numbers, they cannot bring themselves to destroy the embryos or to turn them over for research because, whether they be "lives" or "potential lives," creating them for destruction seems wrong.

That sounds consistent with "conflicted to me." Keith tries to refute what I said by quoting a researcher who says he found "[s]ome saw them as biological material, but most recognized the potential for life...." I guess he showed me.

The upshot of all of this is that there are hundreds of thousands of human embryos that parents may never use, but which they will not destroy or donate for research.
The article quotes a doctor who is afraid he won't be able to sell his practice when he retires because the buyer will have to assume responsibility for God knows how many frozen embryos.

The point of all of this, of course, is that the argument that we're "just" talking about using embryos that are going to be destroyed anyway is a feint. It's a key part of the slippery slope. We start on those. It won't be enough. We already do embryo-destructive research, so why not make more embryos specifically for research. Why not clone them?

This is, I argued in the paper, the only way in which Doyle can claim his ad attacking Green is not an outright lie. He accuses Green of voting to outlaw stem cell research. But the votes he cites were to outlaw cloning human embryos. So unless cloning is essential to "embryonic) stem cell research"(NB: are the Dems going to be just as reluctant to say "embryonic" as they are to say "abortion"), then Doyle has told a flat out lie. Keith doesn't address that.

He does try to suggest, however, that the Mother Jones article supports the proposition that parents are decisive about what to with excess embryos, quoting the following description of a study by a Northwestern professor named Klock:

...many patients begin in virtro fertilization with some notion about how they will dispose of surplus embryos. (The choices come down to five: use them; donate them for research; donate them to another infertile person; freeze them indefinitely; or have them thawed, that is, quietly disposed of.)

That completely misses the point of the Klock study. Right after the language that Keith quotes, you find the following:

What Klock also reported was that many couples found their thinking transformed once treatment was over. More than half the couples who had planned to dispose of their embryos decided, instead, to use them, or donate them. Conversely, seven of the eight couples who had planned to donate them to research decided to use them, or dispose of them. Nearly all who had planned to donate their embryos to another couple found that, when push came to shove, they could not relinquish their potential genetic offspring. In short: Almost all reconsidered, not in any way that could be neatly summarized. All in all, 71 percent changed their minds about what to do.

Its ok to be too busy to blog, Jay, but, please, a little quality control.

McGee skates again

There is no doubt that Mike McGee lied through his teeth when he denied a romantic relationship with Kimley Rucker or that he sent her the e-mails that he quite clearly sent her. But, as I blogged when the story broke, perjury is a special animal. It doesn't cover everything that would count in everyday life as a lie. Thus, the ability of the district attorney to punt on criminal charges.

Still, I think it was a bad decision. While the case would not have been a slam dunk, it would not have been unreasonable for a jury to conclude that there was, in context, really no other reasonable interpretation of the question or that there is no reasonable doubt that he was the one who sent the e-mails that he sent.

The DA's office may have concluded that it was best not to charge a black elected official in what might have turned into a racially charged case. It may have concluded that prudence and concerns for racial harmony dictated taking a pass.

I think that's wrong. The matter may be racially charged, but not prosecuting makes it more so. The DA's office has been sending the wrong message to the African American community by giving police officers a pass when they didn't deserve one. When it passes on cases like this, it sends a message to the white community - and to the larger metropolitan community - that Milwaukee is a corrupt city paralyzed by broken racial politics.

Guys like McGee get by with doing nothing for their constituents by playing off black solidarity and white guilt. Near as I can see the only one who benefits by this is McGee. His constituents may be entertained, but they are no better off for having elected him.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Making a monkey out of me

A professor of psychology at the University of Washington has published an op-ed in the LA Times riffing off the belief on the part of some scientists that "pre-humans" and "pre-chimps" once produced what I suppose was a "pre-human/pre-chimp hybrid." Professor David Barash apparently wants to go back in the future, saying that he "looks forward to the day when there will be there will be hybrids, or some other mixed human-animal genetic composite, in our future."

I would certainly be suspicious if we catch this guy sending a glass of chardonnay over to the "that little hottie hanging from a branch" at Monkey Island.

The inestimable Wesley Smith responds to this bit of silliness as well as I ever could. The degree of similar genetic material between humans and any other animal does nothing to prove the more expansive claims of neo-Darwinian materialism nor does it have much to do with the uniqueness of human life.

The idea, shared by this silly academic, that the notion that man is created in the image of God is a force for evil in the world is about as wrong as you can get. We get in trouble when we abandon, or refuse to accept the implications of, the recognition of imago Deo in all human beings.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Chicago: We don't need no stinking stores!

Patrick McIhleran outlines the likely outcome of the Chicago City Council's decision to require certain big box retailers to pay employees at least $ 10/hr in salary and $ 3/hr in benefits by the year 2010.

What's interesting about it is that almost half of Chicago's black council members voted against the proposal. The notion behind the proposal is that a retailer like Wal-Mart (its principal target) has "too much" margin and can afford to give up some profit.

But that's not the case. Wal Mart has relatively small operating margins. Its business model is to figure out how to provide basic quality goods at really low prices to low and moderate income people.

Council members say that the average worker at a Wal-Mart store makes a bit over $7/hr. Let's assume that the ordinance is designed to raise salaries for store employees about $3/hr (we'll put aside the benefits for now.) Worldwide, the company has 1.8 million employees. Let's say knock off the top, oh say, 200,000 as highly paid. If you raised the average salary and benefits of the remaining 1.6 million by, say, $ 5400/yr (that's much about $3/hr for a full time worker), you'd wipe out most of the company's net income.

While you or I might not care about that, the company's shareholders do. It ain't going to happen.

So either Wal-Mart's are going to be more expensive in the city of Chicago - depriving its low income residents of the benefits of cheap goods conveniently located - or there just aren't going to be any - or many - stores in the city.

But don't we all feel good about the pols' "compassion"?

Shark and Shepherd on the Air

Listen again to the voice of reason (that would be moi)on Backstory this afternoon during Eric Von's show, WMCS-1290, from 4:30 to 6:00. Or, if that's not what you're after, listen to me get triple teamed.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

McGuigan's confused again

Jim McGuigan really doesn't like me. He's still railing on me for being "racially insensitive" and is "confused" by my logic. Given that Jim voted for the pension debacle, we know that he is easily confused. Perhaps I can clear things up.

The problem is that I wrote the following in the Journal Sentinel:

In this sorry affair, County Executive Scott Walker has been forced to play the role of grown-up. It is not Walker who left the county's finances looking like Dresden after a night of bombing. To blame Walker is like blaming the New York Port Authority for not providing its tenants with space on Sept. 12, 2001.

Rather, if county pools are permanently drained, they can each be named after one of the people who, effectively, emptied them, say, the F. Thomas Ament Dry Hole or the Karen Ordinans Dust Bowl.

People forced to walk where buses once ran can call their routes the Jim McGuigan Trail of Tears or Gary Dobbert Pass. If Whitnall Park is allowed to go to seed, we can rename it the AFSME District No. 48 Nature Preserve.

To the humor-impaired McGuigan, this is accusing him of "the same thing as the mass murder of Native Americans."

If I thought that anyone other than recalled County supervisors who were gullible enough to vote for a pension deal that has put the County near bankruptcy would think that, I wouldn't have written it. So far, no one else has. But, for Mr. McGuigan's sole benefit, let me set the record straight. It was hyperbole. It was a joke. His vote has caused and will continue to cause untold misery in Milwaukee County. But, no, it's not the same as "murdering Native Americans" and you'd have to be brain dead to think that I was claiming that it was.

He can't understand why I am "on staff" at Marquette Law School. I am, of course, just an adjunct at Marquette. I teach one course. I'm not going to get into why I am qualified to do that. We have the internet now. It's easy enough to look up.

Finally, he thinks I'm "lying" because my blog says I'm from Milwaukee and I live in Mequon. Note to Jim: although most of the readers of this blog are from the area, many are not. They would think of Mequon (and Brown Deer, for that matter) as being in an area called "Milwaukee."

Breaking Legal News!

The Washington Supreme Court has upheld that state's law restricting marriage to a union of one man and one woman. The vote was 5-4.

This places in perspective the argument tht the Marriage Amendment is unnecessary because same-sex marriage is already illegal in Wisconsin. It was illegal in Washington too, but with one more vote, it would have suddenly become legal. You can argue that we should have same-sex marriage, but when your side is arguing that it is constitutionally compelled, you cannot honestly claim, if we are to keep the traditional defintion of marriage, that the amendment is unnecessary.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Wexler and Colbert

Congressman Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) is taking a little heat for joking about cocaine use and consorting with prostitutes on the Colbert Show. It's a bit unfair. He's unopposed but Colbert wanted to see if there were any statments that might cause him to lose. He asked him to complete the sentences "I enjoy using cocaine because ..." and "I enjoy the company of prostitutes for the following reasons ...." Wexler, who may not be quick on the uptake, essentially said that both were "fun." I wouldn't know.

It's always easy to be clever when you are not on the spot but as a service to others who may find themselves in similar situations, here are some responses that would have been better.

"I enjoy using cocaine because ...

... longevity is overrated."

... I never wanted to pay my mortgage anyway."

... runny noses and bloodshot eyes are sexy."

... rationality is a bore."

... I seek solidarity with the homeless."

"I enjoy the company of prostitutes for the following reasons ...

... who needs the wife and kids anyway?"

... medical science has done wonders with sexually transmitted diseases."

... what other choice do I have?"

... I'm sick of Congress, anyway."


More on gentrification

Ok, I admit that I am seriously considering making an offer on a Brewers Hill condo, so I'm not exactly disinterested, but shouldn't the left think gentrification - at least in moderation - is a good thing? Shouldn't Michael McGee, Jr. think rising property values are a boon and not a problem?

Remember if you are an urban liberal, you believe that it is possible for the government to create prosperity. You think it is possible to tax your way to economic revitalization. So why wouldn't you want a brand new source of tax dollars?
Gentrified urban neighborhoods generally involve households without children. They don't use the schools and don't make demands upon the social welfare system. They may demand some additional police presence (although the fact that they need to is an indictment of the manner in which poor neighborhoods are policed), but, generally speaking, we are talking a huge net "revenue enhancement" which can now be spent on the rest of those ungentrified neighborhoods.

And since you think government spending is a good thing, why not welcome the new vistas that have now been set before you?

It seems the folks that would be most opposed to gentrification are the crunchy cons, but they often seem to be the very people who are doing it.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Gentrify the Park East Corridor!

As hard as it is to say for the second time in a week, Bill Christofferson is right - this time about the competing proposals for Park East development.

One argumnet that I find odd is that the area "needs" a gas station. If that were so, there is all sorts of land in the surrounding area that some enterprising individual could have turned into a gas station. Hasn't happened.

The other is Supervisor Peggy West's observation that no one in Milwaukee County can afford a $450,000 condo. The Reddess and I were looking at condos in (downtown) Milwaukee County yesterday. Apparently quite a few people can afford that and more. $450,000 seemed to be on the lower end of what we saw.

Of course, it is possible that the downtown condo market is overbuilt. (My guess is that it is for apartment-style condos but is not for townhouses.) But I'm thinking that real estate professionals are a better judge of that than county supervisors whose reputation for financial acumen is somewhat less than stellar.

President Feingold?

Bruce Murphy seems to think that Russ Feingold could be elected President. I would like some of what he's smoking.

I have written that I think Feingold can - and probably will - make a splash in the primaries. I don't think he has a chance at the nomination, but if he did get it, he would be several orders of magnitude to the left of every Democratic nominee since George McGovern. McGovern received a beatdown of biblical proportions from a guy who no one really liked and who was associated with an unpopular war and major economic distress (the fool introduced price controls the year before the election). Maybe a country that has since elected Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush (twice each) and, lately more often than not, a Republican congress has moved dramatically to the left without anyone really noticing.

Russ wouldn't carry Wisconsin.

"It's Hard To Beat Them" An Israeli Soldier Said, "They're Not Afraid Of Anything"...

This is the current banner on the silly little HuffPo this morning, although the linked article does not include that quote and, in fact, includes a report of Hezbollah's new found enthusiasm for a cease-fire.

I don't know if Hezbollah is not afraid of anything, but they best not be afraid of water. The way things are going, they may wind up bivouacked in the Mediterranean,

Saturday, July 22, 2006

"Souls on Ice"

Surprisingly, there was an interesting article in the normally indistinct Mother Jones magazine. While the article doesn't criticize embryonic-destructive research, it does recount the manner in which those who participate in the creation of embryos come to view them and, contrary to the spin, a stubborn awful lot of them, don't want to donate the little "cell masses" for research or even to dispose them.

A researcher who has studied the reaction of parents participating in IVF, concluded that "Some saw them as biological material, but most recognized the potential for life ...." The article notes the reactions of many mothers such as one who began with a mechanistic notion of what she was doing, but then noticed that "You start saying to yourself, "Every one of these is potentially a life." Others expressed the desire to use them all or an inability to make any kind of decision. Research of destruction doesn't seem right.

Unless you defeat that innate sense of the sacredness of human life. For that, reductionism is the answer. "Little lives, that's how I thought about them," said one woman. "But you have to switch gears and think, "They are not lives, they are cells. They are science. That's kind of what I had to switch to."

You have to because, if you don't, well, that starts to get inconvenient.

One might call this dehumanizing them, but who wants to be ungenerous?

The invocation of the God "Science" in defense of that is chilling.

It does show how the slippery slope might work. Pull down one barrier and then claim that there is nothing distinguishing the next one.

(NB; The article does point out that the creation of excess embryos is not a necessary feature of IVF. In Germany and Italy, you can't create an embryo unless ou are going to implant it.)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Blogging the Bilda decision

Yesterday the Wisconsin Court of Appeals rejected a challenge brought by some county employees - generally sheriff's deputies - who did not benefit from the "last straw" pension giveaways. Two things.

1. It is in no sense a vindication of what Ament and his capos did. The court said that the county had, as required by law, sought advice in the sense that it asked someone. The court refused to evaluate the quality of the advice or the intelligence of the questions. It even said that it did not matter if officials lied about the advice or the plan. Very formalistic. Second, it rejected the plaintiff's argument that their interest in the security of the pension fund had been taken because the county still has an obligation to pay. It did not consider whether the county can pay or at what cost.

2. The latter is pretty thin gruel for public employees who want to challenge irresponsible stewardship of their pension fund. Doesn't it come close to saying that you don't have a claim until the governmental body can't afford to pay your claim? In defense of the court, I'm not sure how you'd go about determining what the county has the capacity to fund since it is, largely, a political question.

Purchase of Allen-Edmonds

I don't know much about the sale of Allen-Edmonds to a private equity firm. I do have two reactions.

1. Stollenwerk will do good things with the money.

2. Private equity firms nowdays seem to have more money than sense. I don't know, but I'm thinking that, if they paid 100 million, it was too much. I wonder if they aren't going to be under pressure eventually to cut costs and raise margin? Perhaps you want to get that new pair of shoes now.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Pestilence free retirement

It looks like Milwaukee and Mesa, Arizona are tied as the safest places from natural disaster. This has got to make the Reddess happy. Her Mom spends summers here and winters in Mesa. Is she safe or what?

Are there really 400,000 embryos available for research?

It is a matter of, if I may be excused, God's Own Truth among advocates of embryo-destructive research that there are 400,000 frozen embryos slated for destruction and waiting to be turned into embryonic stem cell lines that will certainly make the lame to walk and the blind to see.

But are there really 400,000 frozen embryos available? A Rand Institute study says not. It estimates that there are only about 11,000, from which only about 275 stem cell lines could be created.

The overwhelming majority are being held for future use. That's not to say that they will be used, but they aren't available for research either.

Shark and Shepherd on the air

Listen to me this afternoon from 4:30 to 6 on Eric Von's Backstory, WMCS-1290. Topics might include E. Michael McCann, the death penalty, stem cells and the governor's race. But then again, they may not. Only one way to find out.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

And even more on stem cells

Here's some more on the alternatives to embryo destruction bill that got bottled up in the House.

More on stem cells

Here's some more on the relative merits of embryonic stem cells and the "they're going to be discarded anyway" argument.

More on embryo destruction

Jay Bullock - and a few e-mailers - think my Journal-Sentinel column on stem cells misses the point. They focus on the recent congressional bill that would lift restrictions on the research use of recently created embryos in IVF clinics. They already exist, the argument goes. The cow is out of the barn and all that.

This actually supports my point. We needn't ask hard questions, they say, because it's a fait accompli. But look at it how this has worked. We permitted research on lines created before 2001. But IVF clinics have continued to create far more embryos than they need so why not use them as well? And if IVF clinics create even more embryos in order to sell them for research, well they were already creating them, why not create more? If it turns out, then, that we need to clone embryos to see if we can get truly effective medical use, we already are creating them for research, why not create one with a patient's precise genetic composition?

And then if it turns out that growing your own genetically matched liver, is just what you need ....

Jay links to a post by a blogger known as Mixter who makes the same point and assumes that embryonic-destructive research might have saved her brother who died, tragically, at a young age from complications associated with spinal cord injury. The hope of curing disease is powerful and important, but it doesn't make the moral questions go away. If what it took to save her brother - or herself - was the creation of babies, perhaps genetically altered to be incapable of higher thought or feeling pain, would that be ok?

Happily, there is some possibility that the dilemma posed by embryonic-destructive research go away because scientists may be about to figure out how to make adult stem cells pluripotent. You can read about it here. But I don't know that this answers the hard questions that are certain to follow.

What is ironic is that the House killed a bill that would have expressed additional support for non-embryo destructive research. It's almost as if the Dems want to start down that slippery slope.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Shark and Shepherd on Dead Tree

My latest column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is in this morning's paper and can be read here.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Stop blaming the guilty

The unrepentant Jim McGuigan takes to the editorial page to suggest, oh great furies, that I am a racist for suggesting that, maybe, his vote in favor of huge county pensions might have harmed the people who depend upon county programs. Used imagery he didn't like. That sh** belongs to the left.

He argues that because he and his colleagues were faked out of their underwear, we should all just forget about it and blame Scott Walker for not figuring out how to pull their bacon out of the fire.

The notion that people who were breathing wouldn't have asked the right questions about the pension giveaway may make sense to Jim. It doesn't much resonate with anyone else.

Which is why he got recalled.

Doyle's first shot

Jim Doyle has his first campaign ad out and it's not bad, although laced with inaccuracies. Therein might lie its problem. "Morning in America" commercials work when people feel like it is "Morning in America." Do Wisconsin residents feel that way? Polls suggest otherwise.

In the land of the moonbats

My latest MJS column has brought be up close and personal with the 9-11 deniers. Lots of e-mails and lots of supposed "facts." The one thing I will say for them is that they are, for the most part, polite.

But they do butress the point of my column which is that all of this is driven by a need to believe. You start with a theory that is implausible on its face. You have to ascribe a venality to the government that is really unparallelled in American history (but not for them because they think FDR was in on Pearl Harbor) and a conspiracy that 1)would be impossible to carry out and 2)impossible to keep under wraps. Imagine hundreds of people in on the most nefarious plot in American history and you trust all of them to keep quiet in an age where you can immediately get the mass attention that would protect you from reprisal. You expect to pull off a scheme of unparalleled and untested technical complexity and think that you can fool all the scientists and engineers involved in what you know is going to be an exhaustive investigation.

You've got to want to believe that.

So what you see with these guys is the kind of stupid claims that makes cross examining lawyers drool. The 9-11 deniers are going to have a little to work with in that the collapse of the twin towers and WTC 7 was an unprecedented event. No one had ever flown jet planes into two 110 story towers with an unusual construction for skyscrapers which then collapsed amid other skyscrapers with unusual construction. There aren't going to be precedents.

But they don't just argue about that. They make the most idiotic claims. Apart from the PNAC "calling for" a new Pearl Harbor, for example, they take a statement from the FBI shortly after the attacks that they do not yet have enough evidence against the 19 hijackers to say that the FBI "admits" that they don't have evidence against the 19. But the same guy later said that they gathered the evidence. They use a statement by the editor of Fire Engineering magazine, in early 2002, that he thought the FEMA report done in the first few months of the attack was inadequate to suggest that he agrees with them. But what the guy thought was that the collapse was got by the fire of fuel and contents and that more attention needed to be paid to high rise construction practices (which, as later editorials make clear, he thinks are unsafe). They say Norman Mineta testified before the 9-11 commission that Cheney ordered that the plane (oh no, it was a drone) approaching the Pentagon not be shot down. But Mineta was actually being asked about a "shoot-down order. They take the testimony of people who came on the United 93 and Pentagon crash scenes who expressed shock that it seemed like there had been "no plane" because they burst into little pieces to argue that no plane crashed. Yet there are photos of plane parts from both locations.

I could go on, but these guys walk by faith and not by light. And not in a good way.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Blogging the Wisconsin Supremes, Part. I

The problem with recent cases involving political figures is that so many of the Justices recuse themselves that it's hard to assess what will happen in the next case - when a fuller complement of the Court participates. That was true in Lassa v. Rongstad, a case that grew out of Rep. Judith Lassa's defamation suit against a political consultant named Todd Rongstad. The majority opinion was written by Bradley with Abrahamson joining. Butler concurred. Prosser dissented. Three did not participate.

Rongstad, on behalf of a group called the Wisconsin Alliance, put out some material connecting Lassa to Chuck Chwala and, essentially, wondering whether she was corrupt as he was then alleged to be? It was ham handed, but far from the worst we've all seen.

She sues and the case eventually settled. The issue before the court were sanctions that had been imposed on Rongstad for refusing to reveal the Wisconsin Alliance's donors (actually it turned out that there was one; Lassa's primary opponent). But the question of compelled revelation of the identity of donors and members of advocacy groups has always been sensitive because of a concern that publicity will chill the exercise of free speech and assembly rights. The leading case involved an order that sought to compel the disclosure of the names of members of the NAACP in Alabama in 1958. The Supreme Court put the kibosh on that and since then courts have had to, more or less, balance the need for disclosure against the threat of retaliation, humiliation, etc.

The issue was complicated here by the fact that defamation suits by public officials face a huge uphill battle rooted in the First Amendment. The subtext of this case was that Lassa's case was a piece of crap. There was no way she was going to win. It was all about the names.

The Court did say that, in the future, courts should normally decide a motion to dismiss before ordering that names be divulged. But they didn't apply that rule in this case for reasons that are almost too lame to summarize. Essentially, they said that the trial court wasn't asked to do so (but as the dissent points out, he was) and that this is a new rule that the judge couldn't be expected to anticipate (which is also weak; reversing a judge is not punishment). (The latter was apparently based in the idea that this is all a matter of discretion - which now should be exercised one way - but whatever.) It's not unfair to suggest that the majority wanted Rongstad to get his.

As Bill Christofferson points out, folks are getting different takeaways from this. Lassa and her lawyer, Ed Garvey, think the court sent a message to people who want to slime their opponents in campaigns. WMC thinks that the Court struck a blow for the First Amendment. Both have a point.

Going forward, the case will help people in Rongstad's position although perhaps not as much as is needed. A motion to dismiss is decided on the pleadings. You take everything the plaintiff says as true and determine whether that adds up to a case that can be won. If not, there is no reason to find out if it's true. Case dismissed. In this case, the motion to dismiss was whether the words of the ad were capable of a defamatory interpretation. The trial judge said they were. In the context of a political campaign, he was wrong.

But defamation cases brought by public officials are more often stopped by the "actual malice" rule. If you write in a blog that Rick Esenberg is whoremonger, all I have to do when I sue for your libel (and I will) is to prove that it is defamatory and untrue. You may have sincerely believed it was true. You may have thought you had an unimpeachable source. It doesn't matter. You pay me.

This is because I am not a public official and am probably not a public figure (although that's not clear). But if I were say, a member of he state assembly from Stevens Point, I would be a public figure and I'd have to show that you knew it was false or acted in reckless disregard of its truth. That's why public officials rarely win defamation cases.

The reason for this is not, as Justice Prosser put it in his dissent, that we hate public officials, it's that we love freedom of expression more. People should be free to comment on public officials and issues of public importance without worrying about getting sued - unless they've really acted egregiously.

But that issue can't really be decided on a motion to dismiss. You need some discovery. So the Court's rule only offers some protection against the kind of abuse that Lassa's case represented.

In addition, the fact that the majority went out of its way to ensure that Rongstad got clipped will be noted by activists around the state. Who is to say it won't happen again?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

9-11 conspiracy

One of the interesting things about having a column in a major paper (for awhile - but you can always demand me back; although I'll not be completely gone) is seeing what gets a big reaction. Anything that affects public employees is huge.

So is 9-11 denial. I am still taking incoming from all over the country on my column poking fun at Kevin Barrett and his ilk. I don't know that this will be quite what the Kennedy assasinatin was to my generation. On the one hand, it's a bigger allegation. On the other, it's just so weak. I'm thinking it never gets beyond the fringe.

Shark and Shepherd on the Air

Once again, I will be on Eric Von's Backstory segment today at 4:30. Turn your dial tp WMCS-1290. Topics may include cruising, Kevin Barret, Bush's visit on Mark Green's behalf, $91 million for busses and the race for Milwaukee County DA.

Guest will include Robert Miranda and Dave Berkman - and me to correct what those two say.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Shark and Shepherd on Dead Tree

My latest column in the Journal Sentinel is online and will be in tomorrow morning's paper.

Update: 9-11 deniers must stay up all night and cruise the internet for references to their particular plight because I woke up this morning with a lot of e-mail from a lot of places.

9-11 reality check

I may occasionally post on 9-11 denial. I am fascinated about how otherwise intelligent people are capable of such self delusion. Here's but a small example.

Kevin Barrett repeatedly says that the Project for a New American Century "called for a new Pearl Harbor." He said it on Jessica McBride's show and he said it in this post linked to by John McAdams and so on. It is a shibboleth of the 9-11 denial movement.

But "calling for" something means asking for it. This is the sentence that is said to have done that:

"Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor."

That isn't even close. If I say that entitlement reform is unlikely absent a major economic dislocation, I'm not advocating for bringing one about. If I say that an alcoholic friend or relative is unlikely to seek treatment until they hit rock bottom (i.e., a personal disaster), that is not to wish it upon him.

Billionaires for Democrats

The GOP is often parodied as the party of the trust fund set, but it may turn out that the wealthy are just as likely - if not more likely - to support Democrats. I suspect there could be a lot of reasons for this, but one possibility may be that there is a point at which taxes - at least at the marginal rates that are likely to be in play in the US - become irrelevant to one's lifestyle. When you make millions, the government can take quite a bit away and you still have plenty left. Since selfless champions of the poor like Ted Kennedy and Jon Corzine don't champion a wealth tax, they are unlikely to be affected much by the policies that they propose. Asking others to sacrifice, then, becomes a cheap form of sactimony.

Of course, plenty of wealthy people do try to minimize their taxes which is one of the reasons that tax revenues go up in response to tax cuts. In additon, very few people make millions and we can't fund the government by restricting high tax rates to them. The tax increases that Jon Corzine proposes may have little impact on him, but they will have a significant effect on those who have not already got theirs.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Smells like victory!

The Seventh Circuit has reversed the lower court in Christian Legal Society v. Walker. By way of full disclosure, I was local counsel for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and signed an amicus brief supporting the CLS.

Walker involves a decison by Southern Illinois University's School of Law to revoke the official student organization status of the Christian Legal Society, which accepted as voting members and officers only those who subscribed to a statement of faith. That statement, among other things, said that the student must no engage in or approve of fornication, adultery or homosexual conduct. This, accoriding to SIU, violated the university's nondiscrimination apology.

The district court denied CLS' motion for a preliminary injunction, but the Seventh Circuit reversed. Judge Diane Sykes wrote for a two judge majority. Here's a money quote:

CLS is a faith-based organization. One of its beliefs is that sexual conduct outside of a traditional marriage is immoral. It would be difficult for CLS to sincerely and effectively convey a message of disapproval of certain types of conduct if, at the same time, it must accept members who engage in that conduct. CLS’s beliefs about sexual morality are among its defining values; forcing it to accept as members those who engage in or approve of homosexual conduct would cause the group as it currently identifies itself to cease to exist.

Judge Wood dissented.

Whatever you think of the UW's decison on Kevin Barrett, yesterday was a great day for freedom of speech - and of religion.

The Truth Is Out There

If the same rules apply to regular columnists as to us voices of the community, then Eugene Kane doesn't write the headlines for his column. Still, I think it's interesting that the headline for his piece on Kevin Barrett is cribbed from the slogan from a science fiction TV show.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Barrett to teach

Kevin Barrett will get to teach Introduction to Islam, including a presentation of his view that the US government was behind 9/11. The UW provost had this to say:

"It is in cases like this - difficult cases involving unconventional ideas - ... that we define our principles and determine our future," Farrell said. "Instead of restricting politically unpopular speech, we will take our cue from the bronze plaque in front of Bascom Hall that calls for the continual and fearless sifting and winnowing' of ideas."

As I've blogged before, my problem is not so much that certain views should be ruled out of bounds, as it is with how a guy who is either stupid enough or disturbed enough to believe the highly implausible "false flag" theory of 9-11 got hired in the first place. The only way that you can buy into that stuff is by taking bits and pieces of information out of context and then refuse to think critically about them. I wonder how a guy who seems to have the judgment of a two year old - referring to the 99.9% of the world who disagrees with him as "total f***ing morons" and responding to criticism from Jessica McBride with the kind of misogynist garbage that would get me (properly)kicked out of just about everything I do was thought to be the best person to teach this class. There must be pretty slim pickings in Islamic studies.

The other concern I have is why these "unconventional views" that the university must tolerate so that they can be "sifted" and winnowed" are always on the left. What would the provost say about a geneticist who argued that certain innate skills and abilities were statistically correlated with characteristics like race and gender? What about a biologist who argued for intelligent design? Both of these ideas are alot more plausible than 9-11 denial. (In fact, they are probably, at a certain level, true.) Would we be sifting and winnowing through these?

Frank Zeidler

It'd be wrong for a political blogger with an interest in local history not to comment on the passing of Frank Zeidler, who served as Socialist mayor of Milwaukee from 1948 to 1960. One of the fun things I've gotten to do in the practice of law was to interview Mayor Zeidler for background and as a potential witness in the metropolitan school desegregation case. He was an old and venerable guy even then - and that must have been twenty years ago. He still lived then - and I think remained until his death - in a house around 2d & Locust that he bought before becoming the mayor.

Zeidler was important in that case, in part, because of one of his most visible legacies to Milwaukee - all that space on the Northwest side. Because he had annexed the old Town of Granville, there was substantial room for residential growth out of the near north side within the city limits. This is one of the reason that such a small percentage of African-Americans in the Milwaukee metro area live in the suburbs. If you look at industrial midwestern cities, the African-American population generally grows out from an initial inner city location in a pie slice-shaped fashion. Milwaukee looks just like places like Chicago and Cleveland in that regard. The difference here is that the pie slice remained largely within city limits because Zeidler had so radically expanded the city's limits, creating a "suburb within the city."

He was a fascinating guy. Although he came to be wrong about almost everything because, I think, he failed to see how experience had disproved many of his core beliefs, he was, nevertheless, an inspirational example of how a person stays engaged and lives in accord with his or her most deeply held beliefs. May he rest in peace.

As an aside, the Mayor will be buried, most appropriately, at Forest Home Cemetery, the second oldest garden cemetery in the United States and a beautiful repository of the city's history. Forest Home is owned by my church and I serve as its counsel. It is really a neat place.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

France falls again

Italy beats France for the World Cup on penalties. A few observations:

1. The Italian style of football does not match our stereotypical view of Italians as stylish, emotional and flashy. They play catenaccio ("door-bolt")a defensive oriented game reminiscent of the old four corners or Woody Hayes' offense. The azzurri gave up only two goals in seven games - an own goal against the US and a penalty to the French. No one scored against them in the run of play.

2. The French legend Zinedine Zidane ended his storied international career (and a great tournament) in a horrible way. He was sent off in the 107th minute for brutally head butting Marco Materazzi who must have said something overly familiar about Mrs. Zidane. (On the video at the end of the link, the French announcer is saying "But why? But why?") Zidane's attack was unprovoked aggression. It was preemptive. It was undiplomatic. I wonder if Zidane will be allowed back into France?

3. It is disappointing to see a game like this decided on penalties, but how different is that from a basketball or football game being decided on the last possession? When two teams play to even, there will always be something arbitrary about which one wins.


As for Kevin Barrett, what is the proper response when someone begins to decompensate in public? It draws your attention, but is the decent thing to just look away?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Kevin Barrett thinks he'll outlast Doyle

Whatever Kevin Barrett's ability as a scholar of Islam, he's not much of a political scientist. He sent a letter to Governor Doyle this week, in which he makes the following prediction:

You may be surprised when the 42% of the American people who believe the 9/11 Commission Report is a cover-up – and we may be over 50% in Wisconsin – decide to cast their votes for a candidate with more integrity. I understand that there are Green and Libertarian candidates running for governor, and I predict that the controlled demolition of our corrupt two-party system by the 9/11 truth movement may begin here in Wisconsin this fall, with you and Mr. Green serving as first victims.

He's referring to a Zogby poll but the poll doesn't ask whether people believe - as he does - that the U.S. government is responsible for 9/11. My guess is that we will be seeing either Governor Green or Doyle in January.

Oops, they did it again

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has once again ruled in a way that removes previously understood limitations on the recovery of noneconomic damages in malpractice cases. Today, in a case called Bartholemew v. Wisconsin Patient's Compensation Fund, the Court overruled its decision in Maurin v. Hall which held that a medical malpractice claims including a claim for wrongful death were subject to the limitations on noneconomic damage in the wrongful death statute, i.e., $350,000.

As a result, plaintiffs were able to recover 1.2 million instead of $ 350,000 in a case where a doctor apparently missed signs of an impending heart attack and the plaintiff suffered serious debilitating injury before dying 5 years later. Given that the legislature, intended to cap noneconomic damages at $ 422,000 in malpractice cases (overturned by the Court last year by its bizarre decision in Ferdon v. Wisconsin Patient's Compensation Fund) and wrongful death damages at $ 350,000, this was a neat bit of work.

The opinion is long and the result a little compplicated. Three members of the Court today held that, when someone dies as a result of malpractice, all claims for "predeath" noneconomic damages are subject to the limitation on medical malpractice claims generally and that the claims for postdeath loss of society and companionship are subject to the general limitation on wrongful death damages. In other words, you can "stack" the caps. Justice Butler provided the fourth vote, holding that you can't exceed the overall limitation applicable in malpractice cases.

(Of cours, the Court struck down the limitations on noneconomic damages in malpractice awards in Ferndon so, for this case, there actually were no such limits. The legislature has enacted higher caps, but who knows if the Court will uphold those?)

The issue here turns on the construction of the language of the statutes and, while I have only skimmed through the 94 page opinion, I can't say that the way the three justices joining in the lead opinion and Justice Butler read them are obviously wrong.

On the other hand, the reading adopted by the Maurin decison is not obviously wrong either. What is striking about all of this is that Maurin is only two years old. What has changed since 2004? Have we learned more about noneconomic damages in malpractice cases? Has the Maurin decision proven to be unworkable?

No. Louis Butler replaced Diane Sykes. That's it.

Normally, courts give precedent a bit more deference than this; if only to avoid the appearance that they are completely results-oriented. To throw a two year old opinion under the bus in this way is, while not entirely unheard of, very unusual.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Shark and Shepherd on the Air

I will be on Eric Von's show again this afternoon from 4:30 to 6:00. Topics will include my latest piece in the Journal Sentinel which may not be popular with the crew.

Apparently, Dave Berkman will fill in for Jim Rowen who is going out of town. It takes some moving to turn Robert Miranda into the moderate.

Judicial modesty in New York

New York's Court of Appeals has just held that the state's limitation of marriage to relationships between men and women is not unconstitutional. If the definition of marriage is to change, that change must be undertaken by the legislature.

This is so self evidently correct that I remain amazed at the rapidity with which it has become controversial. If courts in other places exhibited the same restraint and appreciation for the role of the judiciary, we wouldn't have to skirmish over these marriage amendments.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Shark and Shepherd on Dead Tree

My latest Milwaukee Journal Sentinel column is in this morning's paper.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Continuing the soccer wars

For those who say nothing happens in soccer, Germany and Italy battled for 118 minutes today. No score. Just valiant and unceasing effort. The game was two minutes - actually a little less - from being decided by penalty kicks. Then Italy scored a beautiful goal. So it's over.

Except Germany pressed forward, had a decent opportunity to tie, but ultimately fell victim to Italy on the counterattack. 2-0.

Sometimes I think that the only hope for Europe is in football. There resides what is left of its courage.

North Korea tempts fate

North Korea is throwing up missiles. As this thing gets sorted out, I hope we all keep two things in mind. First, this is a test of the world's collective security organizations. If the UN can't do something about this, then it literally has no value as a security organization. Two, we ought not to care about whether North Korea "just" wants to have the same weapons as some other countries do. It may well be a damn shame that nuclear missiles exist. But their existence is no reason to tolerate their proliferation - especially to militaristic regimes run by unstable dictators.

Running hard and standing still

The grill is now clean. Time to go sit on the deck, work on a new case and keep an eye on the World Cup semis.

But, first, another good topic for the 4th. Baseball. The Minnesota Twins have won 11 in a row. Since June 10, they have won 19 of 20. I don't think the Brewers have ever done that. In that stretch, however, the Twins gained only 2.5 games on the first place Tigers and only 4.5 games on the secons place White Sox. They remain 9 games out of first and 6.5 games out of the wild card.

Were they in the NL, the Twins would have the second best record in the league. Probably better because they'd get to play mostly NL teams.

Barrett and freedom on the 4th

It's the Fourth of July so why not blog about freedom while I put off cleaning the grill?

There is an interesting counterpoint to the Kevin Barrett controversy from Holland. Barrett, as most of my fourteen readers know, is the UW lecturer who is under fire because he thinks that the 9-11 attacks were actually carried out by the Bush administration to bring out about, of course, fascism. We're all debating whether he should be allowed to teach at UW.

In Holland, Pieter van der Horst, a retiring professor at Utrecht University, was about to deliver a valedictory lecture in which he argued that "the islamisation of European antisemitism is one of the most frightening developments of the past decades." According to van der Horst, a scholar of Early Christianity and Judaism, "the Nazis' irrational hatred of the Jews has been adopted in the contemporary Islamic world.""
Perhaps overstated, but not really implausible.

The lecture was censored. The university's chancellor said that it was "unscientific" and "incited different population groups against each other."
van der Horst was told the university could not protect him from Muslim students.

And there's the problem. I don't much trust officialdom to decide which opinions are beyond the pale. I am an affiliate attorney for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a group that promotes free speech on campuses. They have spoken out in favor of Barrett. I can tell you that the vast majority of their cases involve suppression of conservative speech on campus. Firing people because those in power think their opinions are outrageous (even when, as in Barrett's case, they are)makes me uncomfortable. It is not an authority that I trust will be exercised wisely.

There are a few potentially complicating factors with Barrett. One wonders, for example, how he got hired in the first place. On Jessica McBride's radio show, Barrett said that he does not want to teach his students what to think, but how to think. I've said the same thing to students in classes that I have taught.

Based on what I heard on that show, I am not all persuaded that Barrett himself knows how to think. It seems to me to take a massive suspension of one's critical faculties to think that the 9-11 attacks were a put-up job. You have to disagree with about 99% of the scientists who have looked at the collapse of the towers. You have to believe that a conspiracy that would have had to involve a fair number of people doing unimaginable things could have gone undetected and unconfessed despite the most exacting scrutiny. You have to take facts out of context, twist language, and ignore everything that doesn't fit. You have to either be an idiot or under the impairment of some strong psychological need not to believe what is right before your eyes.

In Barrett's case, I suspect it's the latter. He doesn't want to believe that Islam could create such monsters. So he pretends that it didn't.

Is that enough to fire him? I don't know. He is teaching a course in the Introduction to Islam and he is going to discuss his special brand of lunacy with his students. I don't think it's wrong for a teacher to express his or her controversial point of view. I've done it many times. But you have to make clear that it is your point of view and you have to fully and accurately set forth the other side.

On Jessica's show, Barrett said that it would be obvious to anyone with a three digit IQ that al Qaeda (which he calls a CIA creation; did we blow up the trains in Madrid as well?)had nothing to do with 9-11. I hold certain views very strongly but I am not sure that I have any that I believe everyone with a three-digit IQ must adopt.

As John McAdams points out, there are some views that can only be held by the incompetent. Geologists who think that the earth is six thousand years old or lawyers who think that the Constitution mandates the supression of the Roman Catholic Church have a right to these views, but they are lousy geologists and lawyers.

I don't think I'd fire him, but I can't imagine that the quality of his teaching or scholarship would warrant keeping him.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Nothing good happens at 2 AM.

Update: I now see that Jessica McBride made this point 143 minutes before I did. You can't beat those professional journalists.

You've got to hand it to Mike McCGee, Jr., there's no idea that is too dead - or stupid - for him to hang on to. Over the weekend, he organized a rally to promote "Crenshaw" cruising at Miller Park. This type of cruising is named, I guess, after Crenshaw Bld. in Los Angeles.

I hadn't appreciated that cruising had styles, much as I had not known that cruising was actually parking.

Here's what the LAPD has to say about it.

While cruising along Crenshaw Boulevard has been an accepted recreational activity in the past, in recent times Crenshaw cruising has been dominated by gang violence and other illegal activities. On April 1, 2006, gang members fired multiple gunshots at each other, resulting in the injury of at least one victim. Officers responding to calls for service in that area have been blocked and surrounded by the cruisers, prohibiting them to conduct official police business, and on April 30, 2006, gunfire erupted again, resulting in the injury of three victims, one of whom was a 15 year old.

In an attempt to discourage future participation in cruising on Crenshaw Boulevard, the Task Force will also issue a flyer to individuals who are contacted by the police, warning them of the consequences of violating any State, Federal, or Municipal Codes while engaging in cruising along Crenshaw Boulevard.

That our elected leaders are trying to promote what LA is trying to end speaks volumes about the lack of progress in Milwaukee.

I'm all for finding activities for "youth", but this is not midnight basketball or a malt shoppe.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Does history repeat itself?

The World Cup semis are set. The winner of Germany-Italy will play the winner of France-Portugual,

Question: If France advance to the finals against Germany, will they just surrender?