Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Is there lunacy in the water at the State Capitol?

You have to wonder when you read about how the Senate Judicary Committee on a 3-2 vote put forward a bill that will allow people in Wisconsin to carry concealed weapons without a permit and without any training.  And one wacko from Wausau -- Pam Galloway -- even went so far to say that she wouldn't mind people being able to pack heat in the State Capitol.

Now I'm not opposed to sane concealed carry laws -- ones that require people to have proper training (including refresher training), a background check and periodic licensing.  Our law enforcement officers have to have this and more and may also subject to additional administrative oversight such as not carrying weapons when drinking. Law enforcement agencies from around the state have weighed in with legitimate fears about the mess virtually unrestricted concealed carry could cause.  They're the experts.  Legislators and the governor ought to listen to them.

Yes, there is some merit in the adage that "When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns."  But our police chiefs and sheriffs aren't saying that guns should be outlawed but that there should be reasonable restrictions on who should be permitted to clandestinely carry them.  Law enforcement officers must meet strict standards just to carry their weapons out in the open.  Legislators would confirm their insanity if they vote to allow just about anyone to pack heat without any regulation. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Make the lawbreakers (literally) pay

The legislature has been grappling with how to financially support Wisconsin's justice system -- courts, police, prosecutors, public defenders, corrections and support agencies. 

The issues are lengthy and solutions few but here's a "no brainer" for your consideration: make the lawbreakers pay.

After all, scofflaws use the services and thus a greater user fee should be collected.  Simply stated, fines and costs haven't kept pace with inflation. 

A $37 speeding ticket in 1973 costs $176 today.  Adjusted for inflation that $37 should be $187 today.  There's no reason why those who break the law and use the services of the justice system shouldn't pay their fair share.

Trump fires himself

Donald Trump said today he's not a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. 

Too bad.

Granted, "The Donald" was far from politically correct and his unabashed views may have inspired fear and loathing among establishment Republicans and Democrats but that's precisely why a Trump candidacy may well benefit all Americans despite his limited chance of victory.

Like him or not, agree or not, Trump asked some questions that needed to be asked and if he remained in the race he essentially could be more than a "spolier" but rather someone who might help set the agenda for the debate. 

Trump is right to question our inability to control such things as gasoline prices and relationships with other nations that exploit us but give little in return.  His blunt attacks on the status quo may not always be accurate or welcome but probably quite necessary because nobody else is doing it.

Think about it.  Republicans clamor about lower taxes and less government spending but the Bush II administration ran up record defecits and spending.  The GOP hopefuls are essentially locked in an internal battle over who is the most to the right in the party hijacked by extreme special interests.

Democrats are no better.  The mantra of "health care and education" is hollow when you consider that when they had a majority in the Clinton administration that they did nothing substantive about either.  Despite the paucity of accomplishments the mantra continues.

At the end of the day Trump may have had a businessman's epiphany and decided that it's a money losing deal.  Probably true but nonetheless his voice was one that could have provided necessary direction to the national agenda.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fr. Pfleger pfull of hot air

Fr. Michael Pfleger is an archdiocesan priest in Chicago at odds with his bishop, Francis Cardinal George.

In brief, Cardinal George told Fr. Pleger he wanted him to leave his job as pastor of St. Sabina, a predominantly black Catholic parish on Chicago's south side, to head up St. Leo High School.

Pfleger balked at the reassignment, essentially telling his boss to stuff it.

Cardinal George responded by suspending Pfleger who responded by telling the Cardinal that unless he's reinstated by this weekend, he'll start preaching at other churches.

Say what?  You got it right -- Pfleger issued an ultimatum to Cardinal George. 

Now I am far from being an archconservative Catholic (like fellow blogger Dad29) but, folks, diocesan priests take vows of obedience.  Pfleger is a priest.  Cardinal George is his bishop.   Guess who's going to win this battle?

Pfleger's tantrums make it obvious that Cardinal George probably made the right call in suspending him -- and if Pfleger wants to preach in another church, the Cardinal should call his bluff with the response that he's free to do just that -- as long as it's not in a Catholic church.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Feds wrong to pass on Walker's request for rail aid

While putting the kabosh on more expensive rail projects, Gov. Scott Walker asked for a more responsible $150 million in federal transit aid to upgrade the Milwaukee-Chicago Amtrak Hiawatha train service -- six round trips daily supported by Wisconsin and Illinois taxpayers. 

The feds told Wisconsin to take a hike.   Big mistake.

The KRM rail debacle -- which has been documented here in the past -- ended (thankfully) with the change in administrations in Madison. This made upgrading the Hiawatha service even more compelling.

The Chicago-to-Milwaukee Hiawatha service operates on 79 mph track.  New stations were added a few years ago at Mitchell Field and Sturtevant.  Stations are needed in Kenosha and probably Caledonia.  In fact, Kenosha was promised an Amtrak station in 1990 as part of Dairyland Greyhound Park's license application.  We never got it.  It was a good idea then and an even better one now.

Gov. Walker has been a polarizing figure since he took office in January.  Nonetheless even a broken watch is correct twice a day and Walker's modest request -- probably too modest as it did not include stations in Kenosha and Caledonia -- should have been granted.