Monday, February 27, 2012

Headline Writers Love Santorum

Headline writers have been having a field day with Rick Santorum's new prominence in the Republican primaries. We all suspected that those "Santorum Surges" headlines were written with a wink and a nod to Dan Savage.

Well, this one, from a Birmingham, AL news site, takes the cake, I think: Poll: Santorum comes from behind in Alabama three-way. (h/t, The Mahablog).

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Off to Exercise My Power one of Dane County's elite judicial electors (bwah-ha-ha).  I scouted out my new polling place yesterday; Fitzgerald is going to have to work a lot harder to keep me from voting. Kudos to the City of Madison for sorting out the new wards and mailing postcards to voters in the nick of time.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

RIP, Anthony Shadid

I never had the honor of meeting him, although our years at UW-Madison overlapped a bit.  His time in Wisconsin stayed with him.  Here is a quote from an article he wrote about a year ago for the Journal Sentinel (h/t Packergeeks):

I've worked as a foreign correspondent for 15 years, and I feel like the Packers were there on every assignment, from Cairo to Islamabad. On my way back from Egypt, after landing at JFK in New York, I listened in disbelief to the radio in the taxi as Terrell Owens snagged the game-winning pass with three seconds left. Three. In a brutal winter in Kabul, I logged on to the slowest Internet connection in the history of the Afghan capital to see that we had lost to the St. Louis Rams, 45-17. Next to a wood-burning stove, still in my sleeping bag, I asked myself whether Favre really could have thrown six picks. Six.
I think he deserves a mention in the Packers Hall of Fame for his outstanding devotion to the team in the face of extreme challenges.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Donovan Slack Auditions for the Onion

Politico's Donovan Slack got his her (thanks for the correction, Tim) undies in a bundle over President Obama's appearance in Milwaukee yesterday. Looking for some red meat to feed the wingnuts, she reported that the stage featured not only a U.S. flag, but an equally prominent one for "the local union, Wisconsin 1848" (the unintentionally humorous article has been pulled from the site, but a screenshot can still be seen here). (h/t, Dane 101)

Yes, that is the Wisconsin state flag that Donovan Slack criticized.  She probably didn't recognize it without the palm trees in the background.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Message for Nicki Minaj

Alice Cooper called. He wants his stage act back.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Space: 2099?

Screenrant reports that a reboot of the old sci-fi series Space: 1999 is in the works. It remains to be seen whether it will enjoy the success of the new Battlestar Galactica or the disappointment of the recent version of V by the same creators.

I think they should do a bit of stunt casting and get Newt Gingrich to appear, at least in the pilot episode. I don't know what role he should play. He actually reminds me more of Sire Uri in the original Battlestar Galactica pilot than any character in Space: 1999.  But the recent Saturday Night Live sketch "Newt Gingrich: Moon President" was hilarious.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I never thought I'd see the day

...when the Madison Urban League would support separate-but-equal schools.

I believe that Kaleem Caire is sincere in his desire to help close the achievement gap, and in his belief that Madison Prep is a worthy experiment.  However, in his zeal, I believe he has made a deal with the devil.  I think he sincerely believes that he is using them to advance his agenda, rather than being used to advance their agenda.  I believe his confidence is misplaced, however.

Milwaukee's school choice voucher pilot program was another such bold experiment that was supposed to help low-income students get into better schools.  Studies have shown that, on average, the kids who used vouchers to attend private schools did no better than the kids who stayed in public schools.  Despite the lack of demonstrable results, Republican politicians are now pushing to expand the voucher program, both geographically and across income levels.

The conservative school-privatization proponents who support school vouchers and the Madison Prep proposal do not care about closing the achievement gap.  Creating a special charter school to focus on at-risk youth is only their opening gambit. The end game is taxpayer-subsidized white flight and a segregated education system where private schools, enriched by public money, are allowed to pick and choose their students, leaving our most vulnerable children behind in under-resourced public school ghettos.

Re-segregating our schools in order to address the achievement gap is, in my opinion, like introducing an invasive species in order to control an agricultural pest.  It may be wildly successful, or it may cause even bigger problems down the road.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Political Ads During the Superbowl

Generally speaking, political ads do not air during the Superbowl.  However, Chrysler snuck one past the network.  It's halftime for the Obama administration, and Clint Eastwood reminds everyone to have hope, because Detroit (and by extension, America) is coming back. The ad has been pulled off many websites, "due to a copyright claim by NFL properties LLC" but you can still see it here.

There is even some (altered) footage of the Capitol protests in Madison last winter (you can see the difference between the original signs and Chrysler's genericized versions here).

If you watched the post-game presentation of awards, you may have seen another political ad here in Wisconsin. Apparently, someone named Hari Trivedi is running for Wisconsin governor as an independent (which will allow him to skip the primaries and get on the ballot in the general recall election). Although he will need to gather signatures to get on the ballot, he clearly has some money to put into his campaign. He appears to be a pro-business, social libertarian. He may be hoping to attract Republican voters who are fed up with Scott Walker but won't vote for a Democrat.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lessons from Florida

Some observations from the results of yesterday's Florida primary:

  • Rednecks Prefer Gingrich - "Gingrich managed to win more than 30 rural and Panhandle counties, and finished slightly ahead, 39-36, among voters who considered themselves evangelical or born-again."
  • Negative Advertising Still Works - "The Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracked ads in Florida, told CNN that 99 percent of the 3,276 ads run by Romney's campaign were negative, as were all of the 4,969 ads run by Restore Our Future, the super PAC backing Romney. Gingrich ran far fewer ads – 1,012 by his campaign, almost all negative, and 1,893 paid for by his super PAC, Winning our Future, CMAG said. Of those, only 53 percent were negative."
  • The Republican Party Is Over its Romance with the Tea Party - "Peter Lee of the East Side Tea Party of Orlando said the tea parties just could not support Romney, whom he said had not reached out to them. 'He's run his campaign as if he did not need us, and apparently he didn't,' Lee said."