Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Quote of the Week

Little known fact, David's brother Charles Koch is actually even more influential.  Charles pledged $40 million to defeat President Obama, David only $20 million.  That's kind of cheap, Dave.

Sure, he's all for buying the elections, but when the bill for democracy comes up, Dave's always in the men's room.  I'm sorry, I must have left Wisconsin in my other coat.

I was particularly excited to meet David Koch earlier tonight because I have a Super PAC, Colbert Super PAC, and I am -- thank you, thank you -- and I am happy to announce Mr. Koch has pledged $5 million to my Super PAC.  And the great thing is, thanks to federal election law, there's no way for you to ever know whether that's a joke.

By the way, if David Koch likes his waiter tonight, he will be your next congressman.

      - an excerpt from Stephen Colbert's remarks at the Time 100 event (h/t The Mahablog)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy Ben Masel Day

For my out-of-town readers, Ben Masel was a well-known local Madison activist, known for his NORML advocacy, his primary challenges to establishment politicians, and his lawsuits defending civil liberties against illegal actions by law enforcement. He took part in the Capitol protests last year even while struggling with lung cancer. He passed away on April 30, 2011, and shortly afterward the Madison City Council passed a resolution naming April 20 (4/20) as Ben Masel Day.

I did not know Ben Masel personally, but I always had a great deal of respect for his calm demeanor and his willingness to put himself in harm's way to stand up for a cause.  I wrote his name in on ballots for local elections from time to time if I really didn't like any of the choices, because I knew it would not be a disaster even if a bunch of voters did likewise and Ben accidentally won.  He was a competent and responsible adult who used his skills to advance causes that are frequently associated with young hotheads (and potheads). He has been missed.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Indulging in Schadenfreude

Former Calumet County DA Ken Kratz has filed for bankruptcy.

For those who don't recall, he was the official who abused his office by preying on vulnerable women, aided and abetted by the Office of Lawyer Regulation, which decided that was not a sanctionable offense until the public outcry forced proceedings against him.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Fitting Tribute

UW-Madison’s Center on Journalism Ethics has renamed its Wisconsin Commitment to Journalism Ethics Award the Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics. (h/t, Dane 101).  Shadid, you may recall, was the UW-alumnus (and former Daily Cardinal editor) who died a couple months ago while covering the uprising in Syria (he suffered a fatal asthma attack while trying to slip across the border into Turkey). Sadly, he was not the last journalist to lose his (or her) life covering events in Syria.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Exercise Your Right

There's an election today. The Republicans are doing their best to limit your ability to have a say, between enacting (the currently blocked) voter ID law and gerrymandering districts to make them uncompetitive. Make the effort anyway. Bring an ID along, if you have one (just in case the court rules today to lift the injunction).

Don't bother commenting about the voter ID law being needed to "stop voter fraud". Cases of voter identity fraud are extremely rare. Most illegal voting involves felons still on correctional supervision (using their own names) or individuals voting in the wrong district (using their own names and an old or phony address). The ones who do the latter often have ID tying them to the address they are claiming. I believe that voter fraud and voter suppression are equally wrong; both dilute the votes of legitimate voters. A law that stops two incidents of fraud while disenfranchising 100 legitimate voters is an affront to democracy.