hearts and minds

August 12, 2006

Dealing Death off the Bottom of the Deck

When citizens in Ozaukee County go to the polls this November, we will be confronted with three issues of historic importance. We will be asked whether Wisconsin should install and use the death chamber here. We will also be asked to cast an up or down vote on a proposed Amendment to our state Constitution that would prohibit granting basic rights to civil unions other than government-approved marriages. And we will be asked to decide, by a non-binding referendum, whether we support America waging warthroughout the world … until … terrorism is eliminated and citizens of all countries can be assured of their safety… ”.

August 6, 2006

Proportion in Sentencing

Filed under: Courts and Justice,Media criticism,War on Drugs — Hearts & Minds @ 8:08 pm

A recent editorial in this paper labeled young Benjamin Stibbe of Grafton a “serial killer” and urged that he be imprisoned and never permitted to walk the streets again. That term is generally used to apply to an individual who commits by his own hand or direction, intentional, pre-meditated murder of a number of innocent, unsuspecting victims. The crime charged against Mr. Stibbe doesn’t come close to that. And life without parole would be an excessive and unwise (not to mention impossible) sentence, for several reasons.


Beneath the Stars of Spring

Filed under: police and the people,Race hate crime,Race relations — Hearts & Minds @ 7:55 pm

James Cameron, born 92 years ago in Wisconsin, died peacefully this week. Mr. Cameron was the only known living survivor of a lynching in America. Those in the mob of 15,000 who did the beatings and killings that day were never charged with a crime. But Cameron, the lucky, terrorized survivor, was charged, basically with being a friend of the other two who were murdered by the mob, and he was imprisoned.


Wisconsin Conservation Congress Advisory Question

(This Resolution regarding wetlands protection on farms appeared on the printed ballot at the 2006 statewide Wisconsin Conservation Congress meeting and was approved 3345 to 674. The article hyperlinked in the preceding sentence provides more information.)

Wetlands Protection on Wisconsin Farms

“When you’re up to your armpits in alligators, it’s easy to forget you came here to drain the swamp.” This familiar old aphorism is out of date. They’re not swamps anymore. They’re “wetlands”. And you ain’t s’posed to be draining ‘em, anyhow.

Mea Culpa

Filed under: Chickenhawks,Iraq,Media criticism,Politics & elections,War on Terror — Hearts & Minds @ 7:23 pm

Several sharp-eyed readers caught an error of fact in my last column, Call the War Question. These politically astute persons spotted a glaring mistake when I noted the political affiliation of Congressman Jack Murtha. Probably a minority of News-Graphic readers would know the political affiliation of all members of Congress from Wisconsin, let alone their names. And even fewer would know the party of a Congressman from Pennsylvania. But if you write a column or a blog, it better be your business to dispense accurate information, or none at all. Guesswork and playing loose with the facts is maybe OK, and often done, across the fence line, or over a bump and a beer, or on shock talk radio and TV, but it has no place in a good newspaper or blog.

Call the War Question

Filed under: Class warfare,Hurricane Katrina,Iraq,Politics & elections,War on Terror — Hearts & Minds @ 7:16 pm

By a very narrow, reconsidered vote, the Ozaukee County Board of Supervisors has placed a question about war on the November ballot. Some say it shouldn’t be there. After all, this County Board just refused to place a question about the health care crisis on the ballot on the strange grounds that health care is a local issue, and asserting, unaccountably, that health care is a battle we can’t win. But I’m glad for an opportunity to send a message on war from the people straight to the top. Since the true cost of war is always and primarily borne by the people and their local communities, there is no good reason why we shouldn’t express our opinion on such an important single issue.

The question asks if you support the U.S. military in waging war “throughout the world…until…terrorism is eliminated and citizens of all countries can be assured of their safety”. Every good American supports our troops, nobody is in favor of terrorism, and everybody wants to be safe, so what’s not to like here? There are three things not to like.

Cheney visits Chappaquiddick

No doubt you recall my old friend, Sid D. Complex, who’s visited with us before in this column, on rare occasions over the last four years. Well, he and I decided to take a final winter opportunity to do some small game hunting. My mouth has been watering thinking about hasenpfeffer, and Sid, as you know, has his own preferences, which don’t usually coincide with mine. But we are both keen on joining the many other carnivores in the predatory pursuit of rabbits. C’mon along, if you like, but keep your safety on when you’re busting brush, and mind where your muzzle is pointed.

Pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps

Filed under: Class warfare,police and the people — Hearts & Minds @ 6:52 pm

It’s likely you and I never use “rapid transit” to get around. Or experience that strange feeling of being lonely while in a crowd of people we don’t know, who are doing the very same thing that we are. And we aren’t particularly familiar with the sights and sounds of a subway. Not using it daily, it’s likely that when we hear the word “subway”, we shudder and associate it with images of thugs and gang tags and warnings of terrorists and close proximity to people we haven’t even met and think we’d rather not have to meet. All this came to mind when I ran across this very recent back pages news item.

Marriage Means Love Ye One Another

The proposed Wisconsin Constitutional Amendment on the November ballot declares that marriage is between one man and one woman. We’re all kinda used to that idea. And it’s been in Wisconsin law for a long time. So what’s wrong with that?

What’s most wrong is the proposed amendment does not only re-define marriage. It also prohibits granting rights to civil unions. It is reasonable to have some legislative restrictions on private contracts. But it is a foul perversion and an intolerable injustice, to promote a constitutional amendment that prohibits so many of our loving, functional families from exercising basic, necessary, rights and responsibilities such as visitation, inheritance, insurance protection, survivorship, child custody, and protection from domestic abuse.

Fixing the coop, or covering up the raids?

The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute introduced its latest citizen survey with a big bang. Only 5% of Wisconsinites now believe that the ethics of our state legislators is better than in the past, while 42% believe that our state legislators ethics have gotten worse. Only 6% of Wisconsinites believe that elected officials represent the actual interests of their constituents, while 87% believe that elected state officials represent their OWN interests and/or what WPRI termed “special interests”. The percentages represented by 5 and 6 percent have never been so low, and the percentages represented by 42 and 87 percent have never been so high. The report concludes, “Unfortunately, Wisconsin citizens are clearly saying that they think lobbyists have much more influence than they (citizens) do, and that is negatively affecting the ethics in state government.”

Need a lawyer? Why not get a judge?

“That ain’t a bad way to open the bow hunting season.” I was admiring the nice deer my ol’ buddy, Sid D. Complex, had just cleanly killed. “How much you judge it’ll dress out to?” That was the wrong way to phrase my question.

“Don’t ask me about judges.” Sid was annoyed. “I’m tired of hearing about judges. I steer clear of ‘em. I don’t know any, and don’t care to. How ‘bout you? Who you voting for to join the club with all those liberals in the Supreme Court?”


America at the Crossroads

Filed under: Bill of Rights,Class warfare,Hurricane Katrina,Impeachment,Iraq,War on Terror — Hearts & Minds @ 5:55 pm

She was a nurse who set up field hospitals and then worked beyond exhaustion in them. These hospitals were loaded with waves of wounded and dying from the war in Europe. Her hardest work came during the Battle of the Bulge. Through her life, she has always hated war with an unrelenting and growing intensity. And, with history in the marrow of her bones, she was there, and had been at many other vigils and marches during her subsequent full and rewarding, but haunted life.


A History Lesson Learned the Easy Way

Filed under: Chickenhawks,Impeachment,Iraq,War on Terror — Hearts & Minds @ 5:47 pm

Most of them were too young to vote or have a legal drink, and shaving for many was more an assertion of manhood than an actual daily necessity. Weekend passes usually liberated the youthful G.I.s to disperse and fan out over the surrounding heartland counties in search of various releases for their raging hormones. But now, their unit happened to be the division first ready force, and was restricted to the post.

Social Engineering for Wealth

Filed under: Class warfare,Economics,legalized bribery,tax source info,Taxes — Hearts & Minds @ 5:41 pm

From 1970 thru the turn of the century, the United States economy more than doubled, adjusted for inflation, while the population increased less than 40%. For each dollar generated per person in the 1970 economy, about $1.40 was produced in 2001. In spite of that, the average family today does 20 more weeks of paid labor than it did in 1975, and eighty percent of America did not get ahead during the last three decades. A person under 25 years of age at the turn of this century made about $2 less per day, on average, than someone the same age did way back in 1973. (All comparative figures in this column are adjusted for inflation.) Over the last 30 years, the average American salary has just kept pace with the official rate of inflation. So what’s going on? Where did that 40% per capita increase in the U.S. economy, that productivity go?

WE the people v. THEM the power company

Filed under: Conversations with Sid D. Complex,Courts and Justice,eminent domain — Hearts & Minds @ 5:34 pm

In the midst of another dry and dusty growing season, my ol’ buddy, Sid D. Complex, dropped by looking like he needed something wet and frosty. “I haven’t talked with you about that big new gas pipeline since gun deer season a couple years ago”, said Sid. “The power company put the pipeline across your place. How’d it go? I recollect you didn’t like that easement they were pushing.”

“No, I sure didn’t, Sid, and a lot of other designated victims didn’t, either. Nobody was trying to stop the pipeline. Let’s be clear about that. But there were problems before construction even began. One was with the compensation they were offering and the fact that the appraisals done by the utility did not even comply with state law that’s meant to protect your rights when your property is taken by eminent domain.

“Another problem was with the terms of the easement document. You won’t believe the scam they’re trying to pull, and how they’re doing it.

With Respect to Fallibility

Admitting and correcting our mistakes keeps us in our own good graces, as well as of those we love and care for. It returns us to the proximity of perfection. Part of the burden of leadership is that the circle of people to whom we bear responsibility for mistakes is wider. Leadership requires us to love and care for those within that circle, and to admit and correct our mistakes. Or else we do not deserve that mantle.

The White House presumes that its current occupant and advisors are infallible. It refuses to admit, much less accept responsibility for or correct any mistakes whatsoever. The buck is passed, the fall guy is a private, and private citizens pay the piper.


Nonsense’n’nobrainer: Questions of Our Congressman

Congressman Sensenbrenner’s latest Annual Questionnaire has come again, prepared and mailed at taxpayer expense. It began with the assertion that “The 109th Congress is involved with many issues vital to you, your family and the nation.”


Domestic Feral Cat tracks a Red Herring

Filed under: Environment,Media criticism,Wisconsin Conservation Congress — Hearts & Minds @ 4:49 pm

The Conservation Congress feral cat resolution is getting miles of publicity and is unfairly billed by the media as a hunter versus animal rights controversy. C’mon. Do you actually believe there is a hunter out there who is planning a domestic cat hunt? Do you really think there are any animal rights advocates who are ignorant of the damage and depredations caused by careless, ignorant people who unleash domestic cats to reproduce and prey on threatened nesting native birds? If someone needs a conflict here to promote their career or agenda, it’s between wildlife biologists and cat fanciers.


Art and Disparity in Prison (first published in Feb. 2005)

“Outside The Box” was an arresting and moving display at the Cedarburg Cultural Center of “Artwork by Prisoners in Wisconsin Correctional Institutions”.

America now imprisons a higher percentage of her people than any other country on earth. This recently acquired dubious numero uno distinction is due largely to a huge escalation in the number of incarcerations for drug violations. The escalation is not due to increased use of illegal drugs. It is due to the ‘war on drugs’ waged selectively and with varied tactics in different communities since the late 1980’s.

The King’s Rook Social Security Gambit (part 2)

In a previous column I described the intended purposes of the seventy-year-old Social Security system, and criticized the lavishly funded, ideologically and greed driven propaganda that willfully confuses the Social Security insurance program with the volatile, risky portion of an affluent investor’s portfolio. This column will highlight the nature of the crisis that threatens this vital program that insures almost all American workers and their families against consequences of loss of income when a worker dies, or becomes disabled or attains retirement age.

The Piratical Heirs of Ebenezer (part 1)

The advocates of privatization play fast and loose with language and the truth, in the pursuit of their goals. A case in point is Social Security. Privateers sneer at what they deride as a paltry ‘return on investment’. But they disregard and refuse to count the most important returns, while evaluating a critical insurance program as though it were an investment scheme.

An Election Tale of Two Cities

The week before the 2004 election, I went to Town Hall to take advantage of the right we now have in Wisconsin to absentee vote early, in person. It was quick and easy. There were three voting booths with a total population of about 6000. Every other town, village, and city hall in this suburban county adjoining Milwaukee provided early voting this year. That’s about 15 different early voting locations to serve a total population in this one county of 85,000.

Examining an Inquest

Filed under: Courts and Justice,police and the people,Race hate crime,War on Drugs — Hearts & Minds @ 3:59 pm

I attended the entire day and a half long inquest into the death in police custody of 20-year-old Mequon resident Matthew Sheridan, and was perhaps the only person who did so who was neither a friend or family member, nor a police officer, nor paid or required to be there. I was the ‘public’ referred to in the term ‘public inquest’. I heard the evidence presented to the jury, and I had never met any of the people who caused or were affected by this tragedy. But I was not a disinterested observer. Two months ago I had written in this column about Matthew’s demise. Because of that involvement, I am compelled to comment on the inquest.

Programming People for the Election

Filed under: Chickenhawks,Impeachment,Iraq,Politics & elections,War on Terror — Hearts & Minds @ 3:53 pm

Are we just wired different? That’s how some explain the widely disparate opinions and beliefs of people. But, of course, it’s not hardware that explains the political differences in the electorate. It’s software. And even my software is not that different from yours. Modify the program a bit or plug in some new or different data and maybe I’ll think like you.


R.I.P. Matthew Sheridan

Filed under: police and the people,Race hate crime,War on Drugs — Hearts & Minds @ 3:26 pm

A plastic bag, designed to be impermeable and to prevent any (potentially toxic) air from getting inside the bag and then to the lungs, was yanked roughly over his head.

He couldn’t get the bag off, or tear it open, or even make a little opening to let some air in, because his ankles were bound and his hands were bound behind his back, and he was shackled where he was seated. He said over and over, “I can’t breathe”, and he begged for help. He was terrified, he struggled, and he desperately needed help to live. But no help came. He lost consciousness. And then he died, not old enough to count yet as an adult, in the back seat of a Mequon police car.

Courage in the Storm

Filed under: Education — Hearts & Minds @ 2:15 pm

The blinding flashes, followed seconds later by the ominous growing rumble and the deafening, explosive crash, made futile any attempts to ignore the wind whipping the deluge into horizontal sheets. My little sister, just a toddler, with eyes wide, and fear beginning to flicker over her so beautiful features, mustered her recently acquired ability to speak intelligible words, and her even more newly acquired self-control, and spoke with serious intensity. “Thunder and lightning come down and go BOOM!” It struck me as cute and comical, but that was a superficial observation, and something about the moment broke through my exceedingly dense and callow teenage consciousness. The significance of the moment dawned upon me and I haven’t forgotten.

Changing the Rules During the Game

Warmer winters with less snow, and wilder storms around the equinox; is this a clue to the future? The fields have been too soaked to work, and I was visiting your friend and mine, Sid D. Complex, for a change, and letting off some steam, as usual.

“Sid how much vacant land do you want around your home?” I asked.

“Much as I can get” said Sid, “as long as I don’t have to mow or weed it.”

“You like to see what’s called ‘rural ambiance’ while you’re driving around, don’t you Sid?”

Brown v. Board of Education

Filed under: Constitutional Law,Courts and Justice,Education,Race relations — Hearts & Minds @ 1:56 pm

50th ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATIVE ESSAY – Awarded first place in the national essay contest sponsored by the NAACP in the open, adult division.

A tribute to the generations that struggled for, the legal team that formulated, and the democratic principles that were represented in the most important Supreme Court decision of the 20TH century.

. The significance for educational opportunity and survival.

. The historical importance of the decision to reject segregation.

. Opposition to, and supporters of the struggle, and victories.

. Problems not solved and yet requiring our attention.


I. The Peripatetic Pivot Point – by clyde winter

Filed under: Paddlesports — Hearts & Minds @ 1:43 pm

A force applied to a free-floating boat tends to change the linear (that means straight line) velocity (that means speed and/or direction) of the boat.  And such a force also usually tends to change the angular momentum of the boat (that means rotation of the boat around a pivot point).  In this article we are focusing on that pivot point.  Knowing where a boat’s pivot point is at any given moment helps to dispel much of the mystery and prevent the disconcerting or unpleasant surprises inherent in self-directed boat travel.  The tricky thing about the pivot point is that the location of the pivot point changes from moment to moment because the location of the pivot point of a boat that is underway depends on how or even whether the boat is already moving relative to the water that it is in contact with at that moment. (more…)

II. Momentum and Energy – by clyde winter

Filed under: Paddlesports — Hearts & Minds @ 1:42 pm

Use it or lose it, prn. (Ask your nurse what prn means, bunky, and thank him or her for their service.)

Momentum used well helps you to eddy hop upstream, punch out through surf, catch waves, cross eddy lines and boof drops. Out of control momentum can cause you to miss that very last takeout or scouting eddy, wrap a bridge abutment, snag a log jam, or broach and capsize while surfing. Momentum can make life easy and save you trouble, but it can get you into trouble too. Kinetic energy imparts zest but it can also mess up your boat and your trip.

III. Everything Floats – by clyde winter

Filed under: Paddlesports — Hearts & Minds @ 1:41 pm

Anything that you carry in your boat that remains less dense than water when immersed and that is secured properly is flotation. It can be air bags, gear bags, packs, boxes, or structural foam. It can be a load of firewood if properly lashed in place. It’s not flotation if it can float free, deflate, flood, or shift position. That stuff is called flotsam and lost outfit. You don’t need flotation if the boat doesn’t swamp or capsize. If it does, wherever you are and no matter what kind of water you’re in, the more flotation you have the better off you’ll be. In all cases it’ll make recovering the boat and gear easier and quicker. In some cases it could mean survival.

IV. Buoyancy and Uprightness – by clyde winter

Filed under: Paddlesports — Hearts & Minds @ 1:40 pm

The cumulative weight of boat and everything in it, including you, can be considered as a force acting at a point called the center of gravity, directed vertically downward towards the center of the earth. If things move around inside the boat, the center of gravity also moves. If everything inside stays in the same place relative to the hull, then the center of gravity stays at the same point, regardless of whether the boat heels left or right, or stays on an even keel. You can control the center of gravity by keeping weight as low as feasible in the boat, and by keeping it from shifting and lurching about. The worst kind of weight to carry in your boat is anything that is free to uncontrollably shift or slosh around. It’s bad because when the boat heels to one side, this kind of weight moves, thus shifting the center of gravity to the low side. From the standpoint of stability and seaworthiness, the best way to carry your outfit is as secured ballast that doubles as secured flotation.

V. Kayak Capsize Recovery and Survival – by clyde winter

Filed under: Paddlesports,Recreation — Hearts & Minds @ 1:39 pm

Twenty five years ago this spring I was preparing for a solo sea kayak voyage that departed from the Fraser River (near the border of British Columbia and Washington State) and over four months later arrived 1200 miles north, at the mouth of the Chilkat River near Haines, Alaska. It was a truly wonderful, beautiful, gratifying experience. Ralph Frese, canoe builder/blacksmith, and friends I met in the Vancouver area (Steve Schleicher, kayak designer, and Joe Matuska, paddle builder) helped with very valuable resources and advice before departure. I think every bit of their help proved to be sound and credible. And I’m going to pass an important part of that help on to you in this article. (more…)

The Appearance of A Rock

Filed under: Environment,Paddlesports,Recreation — Hearts & Minds @ 1:39 pm

We drifted around the corner into a quiet swamp, looking at and listening to this new neighborhood we were invading. My attention was drawn to a large wetted rock protruding slightly above the water’s surface. It didn’t quite fit with the surroundings. Everything else was water in near flood stage, the expansive swamp all around, and luxurious wetland vegetation. Not another inorganic solid was in sight.


A Moment of Tele-Truth

Filed under: Impeachment,Iraq,War on Terror — Hearts & Minds @ 1:32 pm

It was an awful moment, and many Americans shared it on TV. During Michael Dukakis’ failed bid for the Presidency, an interviewer asked him whether he would still feel the same way about capital punishment if his own wife or family member were a victim of a rapist murderer. Dukakis’ reply, broadcast nationwide, helped to derail his 1988 campaign.


Saving a Buck on Tolls and Taxes

How come are there freeways in Wisconsin, and tollways in Illinois? Anytime I go down to Chicago or beyond, as soon as I get south of the border I get dinged six bits. Coming back, I get held up again right before I cross back into the land of freeways. Any ideas Sid, what’s the reason for this?


Counting our Wintry Blessings

Filed under: Environment,Recreation — Hearts & Minds @ 1:02 pm

Winter in Wisconsin reminds me of springtime in coastal northern California. For example, have you ever heard or seen a thunder and lightning storm, or a tornado in either place in January or February? Not likely. And you can’t see the other side of Lake Michigan from the Wisconsin shore, any more than you can see the other side of the Pacific Ocean from the California shore, either. I rest my case. But instead of belaboring the obvious similarities, leave us explore a couple of the differences.


The 21st Century Bite of the Gold Bug

Filed under: Environment,Metal sulfide mining,Toxins — Hearts & Minds @ 11:07 am

There’s RAW GOLD in Wisconsin and you have a vested interest in it. You’re vested because it’s taxpayer’s money that has funded the research, the ‘pure’ science, the surveys and publications done through the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the U.S. Geological Survey, NOAA, the U.S Navy, and the University of Wisconsin that has been given to (and used free of charge by) trans-national mining corporations in order to ‘discover’ and exploit the lodes of commercial minerals hidden within the earth’s crust. Gold is no longer discovered by a grizzled, tobacco chawing sourdough with mule, pick and pan. Now the mining moguls use you and me (through our tax supported institutions) to find the gold for them.

Appraising our Pipeline Futures

Filed under: Bill of Rights,Conversations with Sid D. Complex,eminent domain — Hearts & Minds @ 10:41 am

My ol’ buddy, Sid D. Complex, stopped by the other day. Everyone knows it’s fall and it’s getting close to the rut, but that guy’s uncanny. He always shows up within hours of the first hot rubs and scrapes appearing.

“What is it with you, Sid? Have you got deer pheromone receptors in your olfactories? I mean my mouth waters when I take a walk this time-a-year and it can’t be just the falling leaves that makes my nerves tingle. But man, you not only act like a buck, and think like a buck, I do believe you’ve got canine or cervine genes embedded in your cells. That’s meant as a compliment, by the way.”

“None taken.” Sid was nonplussed and got right to the point. “Seen any bucks?”

Environmentalists vs. Hunters?…Not Again!

Filed under: Environment,Hunting rights and history — Hearts & Minds @ 10:18 am

During the terrible warfare in Europe during WWII he was a combat infantryman in the 10th Mountain Division. Later, this soft-spoken and honest, gentle but tough veteran supported the movements to end Jim Crow racial injustice and stop the tragic, mistaken War in Vietnam. He is a lifelong union member who worked to drag unions out of their lethargy and reactionary racism and genuflecting before the icons of ‘free trade’ and jingoistic pseudo-patriotism. He is an environmentalist, a member of the Sierra Club and Common Cause, and introduced me to membership in those organizations. And my friend was a great hunter. He hunted, killed, butchered and ate fish, deer, elk, moose, pheasant, ducks and geese. He fished salmon on the open ocean from an outboard powered open skiff. Never using a tree stand, he stalked deer and elk and packed his kill, sometimes for miles. His family ate what he bagged and wasted nothing. He was not the sort of person who would pretend that because he didn’t personally kill a steer, haddock, pig or chicken, he bore no responsibility for its life and death.

Letter from a Cedarburg Farm

Filed under: Race relations — Hearts & Minds @ 10:10 am

Forty years ago a benchmark moment of the modern civil rights movement known as the March on Washington occurred. I truly regret that I was otherwise engaged and did not join that history making event. When I was very young there were people yet alive who had been slaves before Abe Lincoln proclaimed Emancipation. While still a teen I joined the Army paratroopers and was among the units sent to Oxford, Mississippi to protect the Constitutional rights and the person of James Meredith, a veteran and the first African American to enter the University of Mississippi. Soldiers identified as “colored” were kept separated from their comrades-in-arms and held in an isolated cantonment area while the rest were deployed in the enforcement action. Even today there are those who would rationalize and excuse that segregation order by our military commanders.


Talking Turkey with Sid. D. Complex (published August, 2003)

I was checking the sweet corn, and wondering if the raccoons would leave any for us when Sid D. Complex stopped by to scout deer. “Seen any bucks?” he queried.

“I saw a young one on crabapples yesterday, but I’ve been busy. Don’t think I’ll be hunting this fall,” I told him.

“Right…I’ve heard that one before. It depends on how you define the word ‘hunting’.” Sid’s sarcasm could be vicious.

I knew what he meant. Seems too many politicians can’t come up with the simple truth if it’s handed to them. Sid says, “They’re just like con artists…what you call invertebrate liars, ain’a? Not George Dubya though. I voted for him and glad I did. He’s been like a tiger on them terrorists. On the TV he’s four-square supporting our troops. I say it’s about time.”


Ten Letter Acronym that stands for Tyranny

Filed under: Bill of Rights,USAPATRIOT Law — Hearts & Minds @ 9:36 am

When the American revolution against King George began in earnest, and the founders of our republic signed a document declaring their intentions to fight the established government and to pledge their lives and their honor to that struggle, they were exercising and celebrating freedom. The legally constituted authority was denounced on July 4, 1776 as “an absolute tyranny” by the revolutionaries, but it did not see itself in that light. The British government proceeded to defend its own sovereign national interest, saw our founding fathers as a despicable terrorist cabal, and acted ruthlessly to restore law and order and its own authority, and protect its business and corporate interests.

Saving the Farm – With Use Value Assessment

Mathias and Anna Maria, born in the late 1700’s, and their son and his wife homesteaded their Cedarburg farm in 1848, and a farm it’s been ever since. They were my great, great, great grandparents, and we live in the log cabin hand built by them and cared for and modified by their descendants, right down to my parents who were able to retain the farm in family ownership.

Observing a Quiet, not quite Silent Spring

Filed under: Development,Environment,Toxins — Hearts & Minds @ 9:18 am

A pair of Great Horned Owls, two feet tall with a four and a half foot wingspan are rearing two fluffy fledglings in the vacant nest built last year by the high-soaring similar-sized Red Tail Hawks to raise their young. Earlier this spring the carcass of a Coopers Hawk was discovered in the old barn where it had evidently pursued a pigeon through the silo. The hawk perished when it was unable to find its way back to the sky.


Have We got a Tax Cut for You!!

Taxes are a compelling topic for most of us…First, who got the bright idea of cutting taxes, just when the budget is leaping deep into deficits, the economy is bouncing downhill, and hundreds of thousands of American troops are committed to worldwide preemptive war? Tax cuts during wartime? That’s a new one. This idea was obviously not concocted by a fiscal conservative, unless he wandered through the Looking Glass after winking and cooking the books at Enron or Harken.


Message for the Media

Filed under: Media criticism,Recreation — Hearts & Minds @ 8:53 am

The retarded level of intellectual content in our mass media, so we’re told, is because “that’s what people want” and “that’s all they can comprehend”. This is often explained with a backhand slap at the great American institution of publicly funded and administered universal education for all children. The attack holds public schools responsible for everything from low test scores to teen pregnancy, drug abuse, attention deficit disorder, and the fifth grade level of fare provided us by the media. It’s an unworthy attack on an honorable dream that was conceived and created in bricks and mortar with public will and hard work. It attacks a dream made real by generations of our respected pioneering predecessors to honor, serve and defend democracy, and to nurture, strengthen, and empower the next generation, and all generations to come.

Winning less expensive, better quality Health Care for the U.S. (part 2)

Filed under: Health care crisis,legalized bribery — Hearts & Minds @ 8:49 am

The solution to the problems I outlined in Part I that confront Americans regarding our medical care system is simple and proven. We need Universal National Health Insurance that is:

(1) Universal – all Americans would be fully and uniformly covered; no tiers for “commoners”, the elite, and the uninsured.
(2) Portable – coverage stays the same regardless of changes in employment, residence, age or marital status.
(3) Accessible – medical services would be covered from any provider anywhere…no “preferred” providers.
(4) Comprehensive – no denial of care for “pre-existing” conditions, no “pre-approval” of treatment, no exclusions, no cut-off ceilings.
(5) Publicly administered – Oversight of effectiveness would be provided by public scrutiny, the democratic process and medical professional review, rather than by corporate CEOs, accountants and their desire to maximize profits, dominate the market and rake in millions in bonuses, stock options, and golden parachutes.

Cost, Quality, and Choice in Health Care in the U.S. (part 1)

Filed under: Class warfare,Health care crisis — Hearts & Minds @ 8:44 am

While legislators, judges and politicians and their families enjoy at no cost, for the rest of their lives, the finest comprehensive medical care benefits taxpayers can provide, one out of every six Americans has no medical care insurance. Over 30% of workers in agriculture, construction and household services are uninsured. One out of nine health care workers has no medical insurance. Two-thirds of all uninsured persons are employed workers and their families. Half of all bankruptcies in the United States involve illness or medical debt. The uninsured die at a 25% higher rate and thousands die yearly from lack of coverage.

August 5, 2006

The Bogus Income Tax Cut

Filed under: Sensenbrenner,tax source info,Taxes — Hearts & Minds @ 11:30 pm

There he goes again!

Representative Sensenbrenner’s latest “News from Congress” describes the return this year to massive deficit financing of our national budget (following the historic first-in-my-lifetime balanced budget during the previous administration). He calls it “…an almost balanced budget. Considering what this country has been through recently, this would be a remarkable feat!” That’s what he said – “almost balanced … a remarkable feat”.

Here’s looking at you, Congressman Jim

Representative Sensenbrenner’s annual questionnaire has again arrived in our mailboxes. There is not space for a proper critique, so I will make my limited case here by quoting just five “questions” he asks, and following each with a re-phrasing that allows for a wider response or focuses on the issue he hides.


Import Destruction, Trash Freedom

Filed under: Freedom and free trade,Iraq,legalized bribery,War on Terror — Hearts & Minds @ 8:05 pm

Since “free trade” policies got rolling, and the World Trade Organization, run by and for trans-national corporations, has taken powers formerly reserved to elected governments, the quantity of international shipping, by train, truck, plane and ship has skyrocketed. Ships can be owned by anyone, but even most of those that are owned by American corporations are not inspected or documented by the United States. This of course is because it costs more to comply with U.S. safety and pollution and labor regulations than it does to register a ship with a “flag of convenience” nation.

Fair Game & Good Hunting

Filed under: Environment,Hunting rights and history,Recreation — Hearts & Minds @ 7:53 pm

The Hunter’s Moon is upon us, and the frost at dawn, the flying leaves and the migrating flocks call and resonate to the very marrow. People all over the world share a hunting tradition rooted way back. European migrants to Wisconsin during the 19th century were fleeing a deforested homeland ravaged by epidemics, torn and bloody from unending wars and from violent suppression of the common people by the aristocracy that kept them poor, uneducated, powerless and landless. In much of Europe you had to be a titled lord in order to own a gun and go hunting. Game was only for the ruling class.

Preserve & Savor the Fruits of Harvest

Filed under: Recreation,Wine and harvest time — Hearts & Minds @ 7:41 pm

The harvest moon and festival is a time that all our ancestors (and some of us) put food up for the winter. It’s a matter of working with enzymes and bacteria. Cabbage becomes sauerkraut. Meat can be smoked, jerked, brined, canned or frozen. Apples of several varieties, chosen for texture, tartness, or taste are blended and canned to make an unforgettable chunky applesauce. Currents and elderberries become jelly to make winter toast exciting. Potatoes and onions are simply stored where it’s cool, dark and free of rodents. The most delicious way to preserve sweet corn today is to pick it at its peak, blanch, cool quickly, remove from the cob, and deep freeze.

The Madness Must End! (September, 2002)

Filed under: History,Iraq,War on Terror — Hearts & Minds @ 7:26 pm

“Against our traditions, we are now entering upon an unjust and trivial war. This republic’s life is not in peril. The nation has sold its honor for a phrase. It … is drifting, its helm is in pirate hands. … Each of you…must speak. … Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn’t.” – Glances at History – by Mark Twain

To remember and memorialize those thousands of souls murdered in one shocking and horrific crime last September;
To honor those heroes who, to render aid and rescue, courageously entered the maelstrom from which all others were understandably fleeing;
To express deep gratitude for those who fought to prevent the airline in which they flew from being used to kill many more on the ground;
To extend deep sympathy and help to those family and friends who have been left to mourn and wonder why and struggle with grief and rage and their lives so brutally shattered;
To do this with justice, with reverence for all life, with love suffusing our hearts and to do this while defeating terrorism should be our goal.

Buy Back the Stolen Land

Filed under: Environment,Metal sulfide mining — Hearts & Minds @ 7:13 pm

The prospect of large scale metals mining still looms in Wisconsin because ore deposits are claimed by multinational corporations who would like to extract the profits. The mining industry touts jobs at the mines and local economic development. But mines represent boom for imported workers followed by bust for the local economy when closed. Sulfide ore bodies will inevitably produce large quantities of sulfuric acid when pulverized and exposed to water and air. The Wisconsin ore bodies are 70% sulfide, so the acid generation potential is as high or higher than anywhere in the world. Wisconsin has not yet experienced it, but everywhere massive sulfide ores have been mined and processed has suffered environmental damage from the acid, the dissolved heavy metals, and the processing chemicals, including sodium cyanide.


Uncontested Elections Do Us Disservice (first published in July, 2002)

We have been taught since childhood to disrespect governments that hold meaningless elections, marked by intimidation, in which officials are unopposed for “re-election”, there is only one viable political party, and the citizens, especially the youth, are fed monochromatic propaganda and are never exposed to a vigorous debate on the important issues of the day. When this situation obtains in other lands, we call it a sham of democracy and a hallmark of despots. What about when it occurs here in Ozaukee County?

The Estate Tax Scam

Most people working for a paycheck assume that whenever money changes hands, it’s taxed. Each dollar of wages is taxed at least three times before we even get it – once for payroll tax, once for federal income tax, once for state income tax. Businesses pay tax after expenses are deducted. Workers pay tax before expenses. Most expenses a worker has are not deductible, and those that are deductible are computed at a lower rate than business expenses. For example, farmworkers are not allowed to deduct work related travel expenses to follow the crops, while corporate directors and executives can deduct lavish expenses for meetings in exotic settings. That’s downright mean policy.

Hitch your Wagon to a Star

Filed under: Environment,Light pollution — Hearts & Minds @ 6:12 pm

A local amateur astronomy club last week unveiled its impressive homemade Panarusky telescope, weighing a ton and sporting a twenty inch primary light gathering mirror. This spring has been an especially good time for stargazing, with the once in a lifetime planetary show to which we’ve been treated. Folks in the city don’t get to enjoy the night sky. Too many concentrated artificial lumens block the splendor of those billions of twinkles from so far away.

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