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Archive for June, 2009

Stop Him Before He Violates the State Constitution Again!

Old habits are hard to break, aren’t they?

Gov. Doyle’s veto pen may have brought back to life the so-called Frankenstein veto, though the resurrection may have been inadvertent.

LFB director Bob Lang said in the agencies initial review of the Doyle’s vetoes, a partial veto of a provision on a study of intermediate care facilities for the mentally retarded struck parts of three sentences to create a new one. That use of the veto would appear to be contrary to the April 2008 state constitutional amendment, Lang said.

Lang said that the violation was likely inadvertent. (The memo on the veto can be viewed here.)

As passed by the Assembly and Senate, the provision required the DHS Secretary to appoint a committee to study the need for and preservation of the care facilities. The legislature’s version required the study be submitted to the JFC by Dec. 1.

Doyle’s partial veto narrowed the scope of the study, eliminated the committee, and deletes the Dec. 1 reporting date.

Lang advised the JFC that a legal opinion should be sought, but said a override was not the best route.

He said the apparent violation of the constitutional amendment would “render the veto inoperable” and that the budget would revert to the language in the document approved by the Legislature.

I’m not a Wisconsin state constitutional scholar, but often I play one on this blog, but wouldn’t it just be more correct to assume the entire portion of the budget he combined three sentences into one is vetoed?  If you actually read the veto (below), you can see Doyle’s creating policy never before agreed upon by the legislature – the reason for the “Frankenstein Veto” in the first place – while at the same time, eliminating passed policy; which in the legal sense is a veto.

Per se, it’s safe to say the Governor’s intent was to veto that which the legislature passed in full session.  It’s safe then to assume the best course of action would be for a double-nullification: One backing the initial veto, and another eliminating the new policy.

The legislature can always re-pass a law doing exactly what the bill was supposed to do before the illegal veto was written.

The actual veto is here.

Frankenstein Veto 09-11

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Obama’s “Evil Eye”

Most of us have a parent or two who will give you ‘that look’ when you know you’re in trouble with them.  It may or may not be the infamous “Evil Eye” of gypsy legend, but you know what I’m talking about.

Apparently Obama has the same sort of thing, but it’s reserved for heads of state and reporters who ask tough questions.

As the summer begins, White House watchers have spotted a new look by President Obama: The Evil Eye!

Staffers have joked about the menacing glance, which comes when the president meets with world leaders who are not aligned with his progressive view.

White House photographers have captured the “evil eye” in recent weeks, during sessions with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Colombia’s Alvaro Uribev.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi got hit with the commander’s malocchio last week in the Oval office.

And at least one White House reporter has been on the receiving end of the daggers during a press conference.

No word if it looks anything like this.

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The Blame Game Must End

Well worth the read is today’s editorial in the Green Bay Press-Gazette on the state budget signed yesterday by Governor Jim Doyle – a wholly-owned subsidiary of WEAC – in which they get tired of Doyle’s near seven-year blame game on the who’s really at fault at the budget.

What’s the old saying about pointing at someone else?  ‘For that one finger you have pointed at someone else, you have three pointing back at you.’

In a practice that dates back at least as far as former Gov. Tommy Thompson’s administration, Wisconsin has been operating under a Ponzi scheme of a state budget that routinely passes some spending along to the next two-year cycle — presuming the money will be there to spend in two years. The intention of this “structural deficit” is to make the budget look balanced, even though a business operating under generally accepted accounting procedures would show buckets of red ink.

Doyle is not the first governor to gamble with taxpayers’ dollars. But he has now had nearly seven years in office to correct the fiscal irresponsibility of the past, and he can no longer blame Thompson, former Gov. Scott McCallum or even Wall Street.

For better or for worse, this budget is entirely the responsibility of Doyle and his Democratic colleagues who hold a majority in both houses. When Smoke-Free Wisconsin — one of Doyle’s biggest friends in Madison — inquires how the budget can raise taxes on smokers $300 million while cutting successful anti-smoking programs by 55 percent, Doyle can’t blame Thompson or the real estate markets.

Doyle frankly has lost on his bet playing Tommy Thompson’s game of “rack up spending, rack up borrowing, have the economy bail you out.”  Frankly, if it weren’t for his personal charisma and economic tax revenue of the Tech Boom, Thompson very well may have been facing a situation similar to the one Doyle is now. And as a budget-watcher since 2001, you could tell former Governor McCallum was the first loser of this gamble in the post-Thompson era.

It’s amazing for how much these two men [Doyle and Thompson] hate and loathe each other, that they are mirror-images of each other as political operators.

In 2006, Doyle was able to wrap Mark Green in with ‘the mess of DC’ and other factors to win his re-election and blame on his budgetary problems.  He’s not going to have the luxury of that in 2010.  Seriously, will he have the stones to blame the Obama Administration and a Democratically-controlled Congress on Wisconsin’s economic and budgetary problems?

If so, bring the popcorn for the show as the DC-based Chicago Alinskyites train their guns on Wisconsin’s Greatest Momma’s Boy.

And for those Democrats like Scot Ross at the ever-decreasing in influence (and budget) One Wisconsin Now, want to hold on to their dreams of “two years of continued Bush-blaming to save them in 2010,” I seriously hope and pray the dream pays well.  We live in an America which has been so transformed by the 22-minute situation comedy and microwave it wants answers and solutions 20 minutes ago.

Excuses and a blame game aren’t going to cut it.  We need grown ups in Madison, and currently, you wonder if there are more than five on either side of the aisle.

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Avery Attorneys File for New Trial

Funny, I leave blogging in 2007 just as this guy’s trial wrapped up.  I return in 2009 and I might have another one to cover.

Not my idea of a great ‘Welcome Back Present’ if you ask me…

Attorneys for Steven Avery, who was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for killing a photographer, filed a court motion Monday seeking a new trial.

A jury in March 2007 found Avery guilty of killing 25-year-old Teresa Halbach at his Manitowoc County home on Halloween 2005.

Avery denied the charges and his attorneys argued that law enforcement investigators planted evidence against him.

In a separate trial, Avery’s teen nephew, Brendan Dassey, also was found guilty of killing the Calumet County woman.

The basis for the request for a new trial for Avery is the trial judge’s refusal to allow evidence implicating other possible suspects.

Avery, now 46, is the second person to be convicted of a serious crime after being freed from prison through DNA testing and the first such person to be subsequently convicted of killing someone, according to the national Innocence Project.

Avery personalized efforts to free wrongly convicted prisoners in Wisconsin when he was released from prison on Sept. 11, 2003, after having served 18 years. He was the first Wisconsin prisoner freed by the Wisconsin Innocence Project, which used DNA tests to link another man to the assault that put Avery in prison.

I’ll go over my archives from the blog’s earlier incarnation later tonight – their on 4 MS Word documents on an external hard drive I own – to see if I have any earlier posts about any rulings surrounding evidence being refused for submital at trial.

This is the first time covering this story I’ve every heard of that charge by any defense team for Avery that Manitowc Co. Judge Patrick Willis denied such a request.

UPDATE: The Manitowoc Herald-Times Reporter and other Gannett Papers-Wisconsin have the details of what the court filing will focus on.  (Once again, I appear I’ll be focusing on the work of Appleton Post-Crescent’s John Lee; who did a hell of a job during the first trial, for the bulk of any Avery Trial II [Dear Lord] coverage to come.)

Steven Avery should have been allowed to show that other people, including his two brothers, had the motive and opportunity to kill Teresa Halbach when she was murdered Oct. 31, 2005, his attorneys said in court documents filed Monday in Manitowoc.

Avery’s appeal will be heard by Wisconsin’s 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Cartoon of the Wisconsin Political Season

We go local once again with Joe Heller of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Heller - State Budget Train Wreck

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Giuliani at “Thinking About It” Stage

With the New York Senate on the verge of a state constitutional crisis (Why has Patterson not announced a Lt. Governor again?), you’d think a story like this would be on the back burner.

But then again, if Tommy Thompson, Mike Huckabee, or any other 2008 ex-Presidential contender was making noise about a gubernatorial run, it’d be news too.

Oh, my opinion: Run Rudy Run!

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Monday that he is considering running for governor in 2010.

Appearing on CNN’s “American Morning,” Giuliani insisted that “I don’t know if I am or if I’m not” running for governor. But pushed further, the former Republican president candidate conceded that he is indeed “thinking about it.”

“I don’t know if I’m at the point of seriously considering it,” he said. “It’s a little too early.”

According to a June Quinnipiac University poll, Giuliani holds a 52 percent to 34 percent advantage over the unpopular Democratic Gov. David Paterson in a potential general election match up.

Giuliani’s chances, however, are less promising against a stronger Democratic opponent. In a potential general election match up against Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the same poll shows Giuliani trailing 51 percent to 39 percent.

This doesn’t become a race until Cuomo decides on his political future; until then, it’s all speculation on everyone’s part.

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Future SCOTUS Justice Overturned

Seriously, who of the SCOTUS-watchers didn’t see this coming?

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge.

New Haven was wrong to scrap a promotion exam because no African-Americans and only two Hispanic firefighters were likely to be made lieutenants or captains based on the results, the court said Monday in a 5-4 decision. The city said that it had acted to avoid a lawsuit from minorities.

The ruling could alter employment practices nationwide and make it harder to prove discrimination when there is no evidence it was intentional.

“Fear of litigation alone cannot justify an employer’s reliance on race to the detriment of individuals who passed the examinations and qualified for promotions,” Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his opinion for the court. He was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the white firefighters “understandably attract this court’s sympathy. But they had no vested right to promotion. Nor have other persons received promotions in preference to them.”

Justices Stephen Breyer, David Souter and John Paul Stevens signed onto Ginsburg’s dissent, which she read aloud in court Monday.

Like anything else in America, the Court is a political animal, who’s to say if the four dissentors were viewing this decision by the way they see the law, or as cover for Sotomayor.

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Cartoon of the Day


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Argentina’s “Second Evita” Now a Lame Duck

First Honduras, now Argentina.  Good to see Latin America is correcting its mistake earlier this decade when it elected all those left-wingers to power.

Argentina’s first couple suffered a stunning setback in an election seen as a referendum on their political dynasty, losing control of both houses of Congress.

The loss weakened President Cristina Fernandez’s government two years before she leaves office by diminishing her ability to push legislation through Congress and damaging the reputation of her Peronist party as it seeks direction ahead of 2011’s presidential race.

Fernandez’s husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, lost a bid for a seat from Buenos Aires province. The setbacks could kick off a power struggle within the party, which Kirchner has headed since 2007.

Kirchner conceded defeat early Monday after trailing Francisco De Narvaez by 32.2 percent to 34.5 percent with 91 percent of the ballots counted.

Make sure to check out “Fausta’s Blog” later on in the day.  I’m sure she’s going to have her usual stellar wrap-up of all the events in Latin American politics she always does.

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Dumb Questions

As we all watch Chris “capper” Liebenthal slow decent into madness and obsession continue – prodded by whoever at WisOpinion thinks his daily diatribes are worth promoting – we witness these really stupid questions asked by an otherwise relatively smart man.

Chris, Ahab by now would have called you ‘@#&%$* up.’

If Walker gets his way, and there is a furlough, and then there is a surplus at the end of the year, do the workers get a refund of their lost wages which were wrongfully taken? Or does Walker get to keep the money and claim it as an in-kind contribution on his campaign financial statement?

Chris, why the long face for your potential furlough?  I mean, Doyle’s about to sign a budget which puts entire state employees on a furlough.  Where’s the criticism of that?

Oh that’s right, been in a picture with “Big Jim,” wouldn’t be cool to speak ill of “Wisconsin’s Greatest Momma’s Boy” after that huh?

My finally point on the first ‘question;’ who the hell are you kidding?  It’s nearly July, it would take an act of God to turn this economy around to even get a surplus at any level of government.

Secondly, you know your proposed option in question two is like a federal felony right?  The type of legal maelstrom that would drop down on anyone who does what you even suggest is going to be nasty.

Dude, thought we all knew lawyers on each side of the respective Cheddarsphere.

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