The latest Democrat(ic) hoax: voter repression

Ramming speed!

Since the demise of Build Back Better, our Progressive … acquaintances have moved past Doomsday for the Planet. Like weirdos on street corners, they now predict The End of Democracy As We Know It! Republicans are going to steal our elections and put Bull Connor or some other segregationist Democrat on a postage stamp if we don’t nationalize elections by passing Chuck Schumer’s Freedom to Vote Act.

VOTER participation by state
On this Martin Luther King Day our favorite Madison daily newspaper screams in 72-point type on Page One:

‘Voting Rights at Risk!’

Only Democrat(ic) Gov. Tony Evers is preventing  Republicans from burning down the church with little girls in it, the typically biased AP story suggests.

Jay Heck of Wisconsin Common Cause is on board. Writing in Sunday’s fish wrap, Mr. Heck damned “the Republican-run Legislature and its Ronald Reagan-wannabe Gov. Scott Walker” for “ramming through the most extreme and restrictive photo ID law in the country.” (Gosh, we miss the Gipper!) Heck hyperventilates:

“Since the voter photo ID law went into effect in 2016, thousands of Wisconsinites have been unable to vote because of difficulties obtaining one of the required forms of photo ID.”

We say, Name one!

Mr. Heck could not provide statistics but the Werkes will. Wisconsin went wild and crazy for Barack Obama in 2008 — 72.4% of age-eligible voters cast a ballot for President that year. A ticket of Trump versus Hillary tamped down excitement in 2016 but 75.5% turned out for the 2020 election — the highest turnout in at least 20 years. Voter turnout for the governor’s race in 2018 was also the highest this century, despite the Reagan wannabe’s supposed voter repression.

Another metric: Only one state exceeded Wisconsin’s voter participation in the 2020 presidential election! Our 75.5% was head and shoulders above the 66.2% of the nation as a whole.

Voter % in WI is up

Election Reform Theater

“I’ve been trying to imagine some kind of strategic vision behind the Biden administration’s recent decision making — the strange pivot from the stalled-out Build Back Better negotiations to election reform theatrics, in which a president with miserable approval ratings managed to advertise his own political weakness and alienate potential negotiating partners, all in the service of legislation remote from most Americans’ immediate concerns and unlikely to address the genuine problems in the system.” — Ross Douthat, New York Times.

Mystery Science theory silhouette

Can’t be cost. Photo I.D.s — like butterflies — are free. Wisconsin accepts 11 different forms of I.D.s and allows no-excuse absentee voting and early voting. Republicans want to outlaw ballot harvesting by political operatives, end the “indefinitely confined” loophole, and prevent billionaires like Jeff Zucker from subsidizing elections. Hardly Jim Crow! (More here.)

→ It’s a balancing act. One university study places Wisconsin voting laws as the 25th most accommodating; in the middle of the pack. Equally important is the integrity of the ballot box. On that metric, Wisconsin elections are the 8th most secure.

Heck posits that Republicans want to dampen turnout because it’s the only way they can win. Another Democrat shibboleth dispelled. “It was long thought that surges in voting would help Democrats. So how does the party explain Glenn Youngkin’s victory?” New York Times reporter Reid Epstein asksAt least 25% more votes were cast than in any governor’s race in [Virginia’s] history. What’s more, voters separately elected a black Republican woman as second in command and a Latino as Republican attorney general.

Blaska’s Bottom Line: Why Democrats think that black and brown voters can’t get a photo voter I.D. is … well, kind of racist.

Remember when Democrats said the Ruskies
hacked voting machines to elect Trump? (Good times.)

Posted in Election 2022, election challenges, Tony Evers | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Ald. Benford is not reconciled to the truth

Climbing the Tower of Babel 

A follow-up to “Guilt-ridden Madison …”: Madison’s Equal Opportunities Commission Thursday evening 01-13-22 postponed acting on Ald. Brian Benford’s “Truth and Reconciliation process” — a thinly veiling trojan horse for reparations.

His proposed ordinance is so insular for Folk that are Woke that it is written in insider acronyms. This preening exercise in social justice is reserved for “BIPOC residents and organizations in a citywide effort to address and repair the harms perpetuated on BIPOC individuals and communities.” For our platinum subscribers, BIPOC stands for “black, indigenous, and people of color.” (More thoroughly defined here.) In other words, another taxpayer-supported exercise in segregation.

Not that BIPOCs speak with the same forked tongue.

Tower of Babel

Truth and Reconciliation got good and unreconciled right off the bat. Ald. Arvina Martin played her membership card in the Ho Chunk nation. “I would like a resolution like this to be fully inclusive … …but he [Ald. Benford] doesn’t have the same experience with my community and I don’t have the same experience with his community.” Plus, Martin said she “would like …more under-represented groups.”

Benford, who identifies as black (we don’t know his pronouns) genuflected at this diversity coup de main. “I follow a path of cultural humility and maybe the Ho Chunk want to do their own process.”

We can only speculate on what kind of “repairs” are in store for Madison taxpayers — many of whom are guilty only of voting these people into office. Evanston IL, home to Northwestern University, already pays reparations.

Iowa City has Truth and Reconciliation but, like Madison’s Civilian Police Oversight Board, can’t get anyone to run the thing. (Iowa is offering $198,000/year!) Last September, an Iowa City group called the Black Voices Project showed up to oppose T&R itself. “The current membership of the [T&R], as well as the majority of the city council, is out of sync with the wide cross-section of the black community that does not support this,” their leader said, according to that college town’s daily newspaper. That’s after Iowa City’s black mayor suspended the effort in March 2021 after months of in-fighting. (More here.)

Ald. Brian Benford

Benford, need we say, is a piece of work. As a good progressive, he opposes police body-worn cameras because they might exonerate police. At this week’s city Public Safety Review Committee, observe what the alder takes as givens. “It is worth asking whether investing limited municipal resources in body cameras will address the root problems fueling police violence and white supremacy.

Blaska’s Bottom Line: One gets the idea that Truth and Reconciliation will also dissolve into internecine acrimony like the Tower of Babel. A perfect fit for Madison WI. Bring popcorn.

Anyone else think that Ald. Brian Benford is a root problem?

Posted in Critical Race Theory / Identity politics, Madison city government, Progressives | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

Lawsuit seeks return of Confederate Rest monument

Did not glorify the South’s Lost Cause. 

A Madison attorney is contesting the City of Madison’s removal of the memorial stone at Confederate Rest cemetery on 04-10-2018 (and reaffirmed on 05-11-2018) as a “desecration.” It was one of the city’s first me-too cancel culture victories, taken in the aftermath of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, which exploded after the removal of monuments celebrating secession.

Madison attorney Todd Hunter names then-mayor Paul Soglin and all 20 members of the Common Council in his civil lawsuit filed 12-30-2021 in Dane County Circuit Court.

The complainant seeks the return of the monument to Confederate Rest, located on the eastern boundary of Forest Hill Cemetery on Madison’s near west side. He also seeks $25,000 for unauthorized disturbance of a gravesite, desecration of a cemetery, and “discriminating against the dead buried at Confederate Rest because of their ancestry.” The awards would be dedicate for the preservation of the cemetery.

Confederates Rest monument gravestone

Union veterans dedicated it

Hunter is also seeking to restore what he terms a grave marker — the bronze plaque at ground level at the entrance. That’s the one that referenced “unsung heroes” and “fought valiantly” and was removed earlier. The suit also wants to overturn the ban on flying the Confederate battle flag over the cemetery, which is the northernmost burial of Confederate casualties, the final resting place of some 140 who perished as prisoners of war at Madison’s Camp Randall after the capture of Island #10 on the Mississippi River in 1862.

The stone was dedicated with brass bands and speeches on June 1906, led by the local unit of the Grand Army of the Republic, the veterans advocacy organization for soldiers who fought on the Union side. Two years later, Congress authorized the placement of the individual stone grave markers that remain today. Notably, the stone glorifies no victorious general. It bears only the names of the dead and the inscription:

Erected in loving memory by United Daughters of Confederacy
to Alice Whiting Waterman and her boys

She is the Madison woman and former hotelier who tended the neglected gravesite, eventually attracting the patronage of Gov. Cadwallader Washburn, a Union general who served under Grant at Vicksburg, Later, Gov. Lucius Fairchild took up the cause; he lost an arm at Gettysburg and later became national commandant of the G.A.R. Fairchild remained a staunch supporter of Reconstruction and criticized fellow Republican Rutherford Hayes for ending the effort in 1877.

Mrs. Waterman’s dream

… was to replace the weathered wooden boards that served as grave markers with a permanent stone. After she died at the home of Union Captain Frank Oakley on Carroll Street in 1897, where she was housekeeper, the captain — then a U.S. marshal — enlisted the help of Major Hugh Lewis to solicit funds from Confederate veterans and family members of the deceased. Major Lewis was then sergeant at arms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Lewis lost his arm at Gettysburg, as well. The money raised was sent to Oakley in Madison, who contracted with a local stone mason.

Hunter’s complaint details that history and much more in his 90-page complaint. Himself a former candidate for mayor, Hunter claims the defendant city officials used “malicious rhetoric” that falsely tied the large gravestone to the “nefarious Lost Cause” wherein some in the south attempted to justify the rebellion and slavery. More history here.

Blaska’s Bottom LineThe stone was hauled away on 01-11-2019, over the objections of the city Landmarks Commission. Two years later, a glacial boulder known as the Chamberlin Rock was hauled away because a newspaper story referenced a racial slang and NAACP champion Fredric March’s name expunged from his alma mater.

How do YOU think a Dane County judge will rule?

Posted in Confederate Rest, Madison city government | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Take courage!

‘Hooray for our side!’

The grey lab coats have diagnosed the Head Groundskeeper’s principal problem as insufficient partisanship. Yes, he suffers from objectivity. Like those two-handed economists of whom Truman despaired. Always saying “On the other hand …” We entertain the possibility that we may be mistaken — hard not to when so many remind us every day.

But we do admire those who swim upstream. Political courage is in such short supply these days. Three Madison school board seats up for election — only four candidates; 26 of the 37 county board seats uncontested. The five Dane County circuit court judges whose terms expire get a free pass.

Book cover 'Profiles in Courage'Which is why we admire Mike Rounds, a back-bench Republican senator from the great state of South Dakota.

“I stand by my statement. The former president lost the 2020 election. This isn’t new information. If we’re being honest, there was no evidence of widespread fraud that would have altered the results of the election.” … I think integrity matters.” Rounds’ rebuttal to Trump.

Which is why we admire Ron Johnson, wrong as he often is. Gawd, Wisconsin news media hates the man. (Advantage: RoJo!) Wisconsin loves mavericks and this one asks unpopular questions. Apostasy on Fauci is becoming a popular play.

A CNN analyst (of all sources!) thinks history suggests that Johnson is likely to win and Republicans will not lose any of the seats they control to Democrats.

Why? Because the opposition party rarely loses Senate seats in midterms when those states had leaned toward them in previous presidential elections. Let’s start with Wisconsin. President Joe Biden won it in 2020, but only by 0.6 percentage point. He won nationally by 4.5 points. In other words, the state voted nearly 4 points to the right of the nation.

And then there is Mandela Barnes, the likely Democrats’ nominee. More Woke than the taste tester at Maxwell House.

Take Courage — british beer

We admire Aaron Rodgers, not just for being the NFL’s Most Immunized Player. (The Packers without Rodgers? Shudder. We think he’s kissed and made up.)  But because he reads Ayn Rand and admits it!

We admire John McWhorter (if you can’t tell), because he takes the war against Wokeness — and UW-Madison’s idiot chancellor Rebecca Blank— from Ivy League Columbia University to the pages of the New York Times.

We admire Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. The senator from Arizona precipitated a news media meltdown by declaring her support for the Senate filibuster BEFORE Joe Biden’s last-ditch, closed-door appeal to her Democrat(ic) caucus. Because of “objectivity,” your irascible bloggeur wonders if the roles were reversed and Mike Pence was the Senate tie breaker, how many of us would support the filibuster?

Heard the rumor that Tommy Thompson is thinking of running for governor? Again!

If we Republicans can applaud Sinema’s courage can we at least appreciate Liz Cheney’s?

Trying to conjure more local examples of Churchillian courage. Maybe Madison Alds. Sheri Carter and Barbara Harrington McKinney. County Board Supv. Jeff Weigand. Former police chief Mike Koval. Public safety advocate Bonnie Roe.

Blaska’s Bottom Line:  Our Profile in Courage 2021 winner: Mike Pence.

Who is YOUR profile in courage?

Posted in Election 2022, Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Guilt-ridden Madison explores reparations

Name your ‘historic wrong’ for cash and prizes!

Woke progressivism, like rust, never sleeps. Madison city government now wants to invite “BIPOC” people to kvetch about how Madison was mean to them. The city’s Equal Opportunities Commission, trying to justify their budget, would then report by December 31 with “detailed recommendations on how the city could address past wrongs,” the WI State Journal reports. C’mon, people, say its name: reparations!

Evanston IL, another college town, is already riding the reparations guilt trip.

Your tax dollar will scrub dusty attics in search of “historic wrongs, including the city being built upon the homelands of the indigenous peoples of the region.” Don’t forget urban renewal! Twelve (12) historic wrongs in all! A perennial favorite is the jail (ahem) disparity. Police led by a black sheriff and a black police chief keep rounding up black folk minding their own business. White kids are stealing cars, too. They just don’t arrest them, apparently.

Your guilt doesn’t lift anyone’s boat

Watch the interview with Columbia U professor John McWhorter. The good Prof says what Blaska has been saying for several years now. Us white crackers could get down on our knees, flagellate ourselves with reeds, sprinkle ashes, recite  Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. But how does that self-indulgent guilt trip help young Javon read?

In Prof. McWhorter’s Q and A. with the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco 11-08-21, the author admits that he has prepared for being canceled for denying that the USA is, foundationally and fundamentally, racist. He describes Robin diAngelo’s White Fragility as the most stupid book ever written. Critical race theory is, indeed, being taught in our K-12 schools, McWhorter confirms. This is how Commonwealth describes the 59-minute interview:

Since the killing of George Floyd in May 2020, Americans have been engaged in a vast discussion on the state of race in America. Renowned linguist and award-winning writer John McWhorter feels this debate and discussion has been dominated by a woke mob that subscribes to theories that are illogical, unreachable and, ultimately, racist in their impact, however unintentional those effects may be. In his book Woke Racism: “How a new religion has betrayed black America,” McWhorter argues that an “illiberal neoracism,” disguised as antiracism, is hurting black communities and weakening the American social fabric.

Marginalized but elected nonetheless?

“I want to take time to pause and acknowledge past injustices that have happened in the city of Madison to allow healing,” said EOC member Ald. Brian Benford, 6th District. “As a black person who has been marginalized in this city …” The guy is in his second run as an elected alderman — a decision maker! And that’s what he calls “marginalized”?!

→ The EOC meets at 5 p.m. today 01-13-22. Give them something to really feel guilty about!

Blaska’s Bottom Line: Benford wants to “create a safe environment where we can talk about past injustices.” Uh, Brian, that would be Madison WI. Those who seek to disagree will have to look elsewhere for their safe spaces.

What’s Crivitz like this time of year?

Posted in Critical Race Theory / Identity politics, Madison city government, Progressives, Race, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 34 Comments

Dithering on public safety for 16+ years

Bite the bullet!

What’s the point of having your own blogge if you can’t settle a few scores. It’s my party and I’ll whine if I want to.

Blaska left the Dane County Board in 2006 (at the invitation of the voters) in favor of a nondescript seat warmer. At the time, Blaska was fighting to replace the aging and outdated jail cell blocks atop the City-County Building with a more humane and commodious jail to augment the Public Safety Building next door. Former county executive Rick Phelps had disastrously scaled back that structure, completed in 1994 and soon overcrowded.

David Mahoney came in as sheriff later in 2006 and continued lobbying for a wholistic jail that would treat mental illness and substance abuse. (Details and photos here.) Sixteen years later, the price tag has escalated to $170 million.

City-County outdated jail cells

Outdated Alcatraz-like cells at City-County Bldg.

Jail proposals
842 beds $138 million
904 beds $155 million
922 beds $170 million
1,013 beds current, incl.
old jail, Huber Center *
Co. Bd authorized $148 million

* “We’re already out of space,”
Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett

My County Board and the one that brother Mike chaired (1992-1996) built the Public Safety Building, a new courthouse, built the Exposition Hall at Alliant Energy Center, merged the city and county public health departments, made electricity from waste at the county landfill, ended a Depression-era welfare program for single men, and adopted program efficiency audits.

Where has been the leadership since? Can anyone name the county board chairman? Does it even have one?

Even Paul Fanlund, editor of the Capital Times calls the inaction over the jail “interminable.” Fanlund quotes former sheriff Mahoney to say “You have action paralysis at the County Board because it’s not that favored project that everybody wants.”

The board, he added, has gradually added more liberal supervisors who are more skeptical of law enforcement and its perspective.

That’s on you, Dave Mahoney! You endorsed those Leftists! In Blaska’s race for Madison school board three years ago, Mahoney endorsed Ali Muldrow (Progressive Dane), who advocated expelling school resource police officers from our troubled high schools!

‘Reimagining safety’

All 37 county supervisory districts are on the ballot for the (officially) non-partisan election April 5. Eleven incumbents called it quits. (Full list here.) Let’s be clear: the Dane County Board of Supervisors as a whole is as anti-cop Woke as any downtown Madison alder.

We doubt the next county board will be any better. One of the 2½ who might be considered conservative is among those hanging it up. That would be Tim Rockwell of Sun Prairie. Out in Marshall, Jeff Weigand  is the other conservative. His opponent, Scott Michalak, twice ran for State Assembly as a Democrat.

No one would call Fitchburg’s Dorothy Krause a conservative but at least she supported building a new and improved jail. Not so her replacement, running unopposed. Kierstin Huelsemann described herself as a community organizer, her goals as “bringing awareness around equity and anti-racism” and “reimagining safety,” the buzzword for Defund Police.

Out of desperation, County Executive Joe Parisi now contemplates bypassing the county board and putting the jail up for a binding public referendum where it will almost certainly die.

Blaska’s Bottom LineAlmost forgot one of the accomplishments of the Mike Blaska conservative county board. Madison had been debating Frank Lloyd Wright’s Monona Terrace for 50 years. Grandpa J.M. Blaska voted against it when he served in the 1940s. Brother Mike, however got it done — even though his Sun Prairie district voted against it in the 1992 referendum. (It did pass, countywide.) Completed in 1997, it cost $67 million, with $8 million in private sector donations and some state aid. Indisputably, Monona Terrace revived what had been a moribund downtown.

That’s called leadership!

Do YOU think a jail referendum would pass?

Posted in Crime, Progressives | Tagged , | 10 Comments