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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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SCOTUS Justice Overturned">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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