Saturday, July 31, 2010

More Deportations Under Obama Than Bush

I found this interesting little nugget on the Wheeler Report page.  It is an employment law update from a Madison law firm.  It is not a press release or political blog.  It is meant to inform their clients and other employers (and attract business from those who wish to engage an employment law expert). In discussing the parts of Arizona's controversial anti-illegal-immigration legislation that were not struck down by the courts, Attorney Bob Gregg mentions:

Many are also unaware that the federal government has been involved in a major enforcement effort regarding illegal aliens. The previous Bush administration seemed to have had more of a hands-off approach; enforcement of the immigration rules was static and inspections and enforcement regarding employment of illegal workers steadily decreased. Starting in 2009, the new administration changed this. Deportations have dramatically increased. Under the Obama administration, there has been a 600% increase in enforcement, fines and prosecutions regarding illegal workers. This more vigorous enforcement of the laws has gone largely unnoticed in the public and media focus. Employers in Arizona should be aware that their state can now enforce the employment parts of the new law. Employers nationwide should be aware of the federal government's increased efforts to inspect records and take serious action regarding illegal workers.
Interesting.  I have seen various conservative commenters pooh-pooh recent enforcement actions as an election-year stunt.  However, it seems that this has been going on since 2009, the first year of the Obama administration.  If you rely on politically-biased media for your news, your perception will differ greatly from reality.  Much like the belief that Obama is going to take your guns away.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Scott Walker Is Missing the Boat

Target recently came under fire for giving money to a conservative Minnesota group that is supporting an anti-gay-rights candidate.  Facing threats of a consumer boycott, Target CEO Greg Steinhafel asserted that "Target's political donations are intended to support business objectives such as job creation and economic growth."

Now that the Supreme Court has opened up a new frontier of direct corporate contributions to political campaigns, I can think of a few companies that might be eager to support Scott Walker for reasons of job creation and economic growth:

Conney Safety
Cooper Safety Supply

If Walker's campaign moves quickly, they could probably score some dough to use in ads before the primary. Think of the product placement opportunities.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I Smell a TIF Request

The organizers of Madison's World's Largest Brat Fest have a grand vision to improve the John Nolen Drive corridor.

The city has been coy about the details of the proposal, but Economic Development Coordinator Tim Cooley reportedly told the paper via email:
"Today, you can travel from the Beltline to the end of Olin-Turville Park without ever seeing the lake, and with limited opportunities by the public for recreation and enjoyment of the area."
I sincerely hope he didn't mean to imply that the lack of lake views along John Nolen between the Beltline and the end of Olin-Turville Park is a problem that needs to be solved.  I can think of several ways it could be addressed, none of them good:
1. Re-route John Nolen Drive to hug the lakeshore along the length of Olin-Turville Park.
2. Cut down a bunch of trees (and level the hill) at the park.
3. Demolish the Sheraton.
4. Elevate John Nolen Drive and create an urban park underneath to connect the Alliant Energy Center with Olin-Turville Park.

I'm just fine with waiting until I reach the causeway to enjoy the lake view from my car.  A pedestrian bridge isn't a bad idea.  Some nice plantings along the road would also improve things without breaking the bank.  Let's see what they are actually proposing and how much it is likely to cost Madison taxpayers and schools.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Value of Minor Candidates

They can spur discussion of important issues that major candidates avoid talking about for fear of alienating voters.

They can give voters who feel marginalized a reason to go to the polls and participate.

And they can bring much-needed class and levity to elections that are often known for negative campaigning.

Here is gubenatorial candidate Tim John with my favorite campaign commercial this year (h/t Zach W):

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Revisionist History from Monona Terrace

Today's Wisconsin State Journal had an article about the impending retirement of Monona Terrace Director Jim Hess.

The online version (but not the print edition) includes this little nugget about the highlights of Hess' tenure:
683 conventions and conferences - including a national conference in 2002 for mayors that required significant security and offered a big opportunity to showcase the center - with an economic impact of over $300 million.
Funny, I seem to recall that the security concerns pretty much kept all the attendees locked down in the convention center (and the public far away), turning downtown into a ghost town and bitterly disappointing the area businesses who had hoped to benefit from the convention. The city received very little economic impact for the money it had to shell out for security.  The fiasco helped to end Mayor Sue Baumann's political career.

I'm surprised that Monona Terrace's press release bragged about that unfortunate bit of history.  Of course, it wasn't in the print edition of the paper; no doubt there simply wasn't space. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sarah Palin Is Our Lewis Carroll

Sarah Palin has taken a lot of heat for coining the word "refudiate" recently.  She was also ridiculed for citing Shakespeare's coining of words.

I think it would be more appropriate to compare her to Lewis Carroll, whose word Jabberwocky gave us the verb "chortle" (a cross between a chuckle and a snort).

We already know that Palin is a poet at heart.  Her tweets have been called "Alaskan beat poetry" and recited by Emmy-award winning thespian (and former Shakespearean actor) William Shatner.

There are plenty of reasons to criticize Sarah Palin's statements.  Her inventive language, however, should not be the focus of criticism.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A. Because they would have needed passports to search for Eldorado

Q.  Why did three sixty-something Utah men go into Arizona's Superstition Mountains looking for the fabled Lost Dutchman goldmine?

Tragically (and predictably), the three men have gone missing.

Surprisingly, none of them was Joad Cressbeckler.

How long will it take before CSI does an episode inspired by this news story?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Wiggie's Is Back in the News

Just a couple days ago, I was thinking how odd it was that Wiggie's had not had a news-worthy violent crime in several months.

It had been so long, that when I saw the headline Armed robber waited until others left tavern, I didn't jump to any conclusions.  In keeping with the usual IQ of Wiggie's perps, this genius posed for a clear, close-up surveillance photo before robbing the joint.

Stay classy, Wiggie's.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Jackson & Juneau County DAs Exhibit Posse Comitatus Philosophy

The term posse comitatus is Latin for "power of the county."  It originally referred to the legal authority of a County Sheriff to conscript civilians into an ad hoc militia for law enforcement purposes.

When capitalized, Posse Comitatus also refers to a far-right militia movement that believes that the County Sheriff is the ultimate law of the land. Posse groups sprang up all over the country after the Watergate era.  Wisconsin's own merry band of outlaws had their Sherwood Forest in Shawano County, around the community of Tigerton.  While there was some variation in Posse groups around the country, most were Christian Identity activists.

While the Posse Comitatus largely disappeared from public awareness after most of its leaders were imprisoned in the '80s, their underlying legal philosophy -- that County-level law enforcement trumps State and Federal laws -- is making a political comeback.

A few months ago, Juneau County District Attorney Scott Southworth sent a letter to several school districts warning them not to comply with the new State law requiring that public schools with sex education programs teach students about contraceptives. 

This week, Jackson County District Attorney Gerald Fox is pretending to be a constitutional scholar, claiming that the Supreme Court's recent decision in McDonald v. Chicago "immediately renders some of Wisconsin's current laws unconstitutional".  Apparently, there is no need for the courts to decide which regulations are reasonable; Gerald Fox has already declared the following to be unenforceable:
Section 167.31, prohibiting uncased or loaded firearms in vehicles;
Section 941.23, prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons, including firearms;
Section 941.235, prohibiting the possession of firearms in public buildings;
Section 941.237, prohibiting the possession of firearms in establishments where alcohol may be sold or served; and,
Section 941.24, prohibiting the possession of knives that open with a button, or by gravity, or thrust, or movement.

So, Wisconsin's gun nuts need only move to Jackson County, where they can throw their uncased, loaded gun in their vehicle before driving over bumpy back roads, then carry a concealed gun or switchblade into a courthouse or bar.  While Black River Falls police chief Don Gilberg says he will still enforce state and local laws, J. B. Van Hollen calls such decisions "a matter of prosecutorial discretion."