Sunday, January 30, 2011

Journal Sentinel Trolls For Naughty Lawyers

On a hot summer day in 1966, I rode my bike down the slopping hill of Wisconsin Ave. in New Holstein, Wisconsin on what turned out to be an impulsively criminal mission.  I was headed to a small appliance store, which I had recently discovered was the only place in town that carried 45s and albums.  I walked into the store with empty pockets…and a headful of ideas that were driving me insane.

Damn Monkees.  Ever since my loving sisters brought the revolution home with the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, I was one hook-and-guitar loving fool.  I was also entranced with the Beatles’ charm and sense of humor.  The pre-fab Monkees had all of that -- not by nature, but by design.  Neil Diamond and Bice & Hart wrote their best music, some other guys played their instruments (at first) and Bob Rafelson wrote their lines, but they had me completely snowed.  I reveled in every joke on the TV show and sang every song in my head (except slop like Daydream Believer – even a starry-eyed fan like me could see through that Davey Jones crap). 

The store only carried like twenty records total, so the chances of them having what I was looking for were pretty slim.  And yet – there it was: a pristine, first-edition printing of I’m a Believer/ (I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone – the greatest A/B-side record pairing since I Want to Hold Your Hand/I Saw Her Standing There. Overcome by the devil in my 10 year-old rock-and-roll soul, I glanced quickly at the older woman running the place behind the counter.  I held the precious 45 in my hands and waited for her to turn away.  I thought she did and I slipped it clumsily behind my back, under my tucked-in T-shirt.  I browsed empty handed for another five minutes, real cool, as if I hadn’t found what I was looking for, and calmly walked out the door.

I looked up and saw the woman standing at the door, just looking at me.  I was so busted. I got on my bike anyway.  As I did, I felt the thin vinyl record fall out the back and land on the hot concrete.  She gave a heavy sigh as she bent over and picked it off the sidewalk.  I could imagine the look of panic and terror I had on my face as I saw my future and a certain date with a hairbrush in my immediate future.  My dad’s law office was only a block away.  I didn’t know her, but I bet she knew me.  Resigned to the fate of the small-town shopkeeper, she shook her head and walked back into the store.  I got on my bike and rode as fast and as far as I could, in case she changed her mind.

I thought about my uncharged criminal past as I imagined some poor slob at in the Journal Sentinel Watchdog team CCAPing me as part of their journalistic ambush on lawyers with records this Sunday.  Of course, I was only one of 24,000 names (!) that the paper ran for state and federal scofflawness, but, getting CCAPed by a stranger is still pretty creepy.  I mean, it’s not like I’m dating them or something.

As is the case with most of these sanctimonious Watchdog reports, the entire tone is like something is wrong.  “Convicted attorneys are still practicing,” blares the front-page headline, as if something is wrong with that.  What is the point of this latest campaign – that people with criminal records or traffic offenses shouldn’t be practicing law?  Other than one ethics crank from Georgetown, who says that? To get their license back, even after a short suspension, lawyers actually have to prove some rehabilitation and pay some heavy dues.  No other profession has those kind of requirements to get their tickets re-punched. 

For his trouble at the Capitol, a great guy like Brian Burke ended up with a felony conviction and, once he got his license back, a starting-salary job at the Public Defenders office.  Scott Jensen got a sweetheart dismissal of his felony charges by the political hack DA in Waukesha County and is now dancing in the endzone with the other Republicans currently polluting Madison, albeit in the shadows as a “consultant”.  Lawyers are held to a higher ethical standard than any other profession.  Consultants are held to the lowest standards of whoever will write them a check. [Aside to my consultant friends and family – not your kind of consultancy, obviously.]

But, the Journal Sentinel has apparently decided that the politics of envy works, as their fingernails cling to the cliff of their dwindling subscriber base. 24,000 lawyers checked and they could only come up with twelve lawyer mugshots?  That’s the point at which an ethical editor might conclude there is not much there to justify the pre-planned hysterics. 

Maybe, as an ethical editor, you might want to go beat up on another bunch of daycare providers or – here’s an idea – how about going after “choice” “school” scam artists? The paper runs all these small stories about “providers” getting bounced from the program from time to time, but we never hear about how bad their warehousing of poor students really was or the small group of vultures that fund and profit from the pretend-schools. There you go – sic your watchdog on their sorry asses. But that would fly in the face of the Journal Sentinel's right-wing stance on “choice”, a stance that the paper will take, quite literally, to its grave.

As for the lawyer disciplinary system, there is nothing wrong with it.  The Office of Lawyer Regulation and the Supreme Court does a fairly good job sorting through often-complicated facts and issues.   Like the jury system, it’s not perfect, but it works.  You don’t need to call the individual members of the Supreme Court – as the paper ridiculously suggests by giving out the numbers of each justice – to get decent lawyer regulation. It already exists. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bass Pro Shops to Walker: No Thanks

The environment-raping Republican juggernaut in Madison met an unexpected bump in the road yesterday when the intended tenants of John Bergstrom’s wetlands pave-over in Green Bay announced that they would have nothing to do with it.

"We don't build on wetlands," said a spokesperson for Bass Pro Shops, an apparently successful hunt-and-fish-and-gun retailer that car-dealer Bergstrom wanted to bring to the wetter vicinity of Lambeau Field.  Apparently, the logic goes that, once the Elmer Fudds and Jared Loughners of the world ammo-up at the store, they might want to go out and actually have nature to spoil their own damn selves, rather than have developers do it for them with with special-favor legislation and bulldozers. 

Not that Bass’s passing on the project at that location is going to have an effect on Scott Walker and his lock-step legislature’s drive to get Bergstrom his payback for the thousands of dollars he poured into the Walker campaign. Something is going up over that soon-to-be-former home to natural species, damn it.  Look out, Highway 41 and Lombardi Drive – here comes another Wal-Mart!

And, because Republicans never have to follow the dictates of the documents they pretend to revere, never mind the Wisconsin Constitution’s prohibition against private bills (Article IV, Sec. 18).  The Republicans try to dodge the constitution by drafting it so that wetlands protection is removed for “wetlands that are 3 acres or smaller…within a tax incremental financing district in Brown County” rather than simply calling it “The Bergstrom Political Contributor Blow Job Bill”.  I’m getting in a little bit over my legal head here (I did take a course in Legislation, but that was sooo long ago. I need help -- IT, phone home), but doesn’t this smell a lot like the stunt Tommy Thompson tried to pull that was found unconstitutional in City of Oak Creek v. DNR, 518 N.W.2d 276, 185 Wis.2d 424 (Ct. App.1994)?  There, (short version) Oak Creek wanted to ignore DNR regulations and re-direct Crawford Creek.  Thompson’s (typical) power-grab statute in a budget bill (also typical) said the statewide DNR regulations don’t apply to Oak Creek or Crawford Creek.  Nope – unconstitutional, said the Court of Appeals. 

Walker is probably betting that, even if the gift to Bergstrom was obviously a “private bill”, there would be no one with the standing to challenge it.  The Oak Creek challenge was brought by the Wisconsin Public Intervenor, an independent watchdog agency that allowed the state of Wisconsin to sue itself in the interest of protecting its own natural resources.  Well, Thompson had enough of that after the Oak Creek and other annoying prosecutions showing how wrong he was and eliminated the office in 1995. For whatever reason, it was never revived by Jim Doyle.  Now, no one short of the Lorax can speak for the trees and the other living things threatened by the Republican contributor-funded steamroller.  Although Jim Rowen is giving it a heck of a try.

It is amusing, though, how much the business community that Walker pretends to know and love so much refuses to cooperate.  Bass Pro Shops has enough of an environmental demographic to step away from the land-rape Walker thinks they should be thankful for.  Burgeoning wind turbine manufacturers visited by President Obama in Manitowoc would rather Walker not insist on industry-destroying set-backs designed only to preserve the continued dominance of fossil fuels.  Wisconsin should currently be gearing up for $800 million of track-and-train construction; instead, Talgo is taking its train and going to Illinois.  National nursing home chains, now freed from the burden of lawsuits that might adequately protect their elderly residents from neglect and abuse, can now start cutting staff to the bare bottom-line bone, creating more lost jobs to the negative Walker ledger.

Wisconsin is open for business, alright -- as long as your business of the right kind, with the right connections and the adequate buy-in.  If not, good luck.  You'll have a harder time under Walker than you ever did under Doyle.


OK, now, what did I say about a regular publication schedule three weeks ago?  Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. right?  What is today, Saturday?  I’ll get on it.  He said. 

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Absolute Power Corrupts the Already Corrupted

We all knew that the right-wing radicals who pass for Republicans these days would run amok when they took over every wing of the state capitol this week.  There is no check, no balance, no anything to stop the Talk-Radio-Tea-Party (TRTP) Republicans from taking and filling orders from the Rich (read: WMC) who bought them and brought them to Madison, doing their bidding and reading their scripts. This is not a surprise to anyone paying attention during the recent election cycle, a group that excludes most of the electorate.

Jobs jobs jobs, they say, but the Republicans exist to advance the interest of those who are nothing if not anti-job.  The corporations that run America in general and the Republican Party in particular could care less if you have a job.  They lost their collective souls years ago, when the first manufacturer figured out that the cost of using cheap slave/child/desperate foreign labor and shipping goods from overseas was cheaper than providing the Americans who bought their goods a living wage.  Since then, consultants and shareholders have insisted on a race to the bottom in the service of the bottom line.  What is the best way for a company to get a bump in their share price?  Announce 30,000 layoffs and a new factory in Mexico.

Scott Walker’s proposed decimation of personal injury law has nothing to do with the promotion of jobs in the state and everything to do with the protection of negligent businesses who don’t care if you get injured or not.  The logic goes that, if it is easier for corporations to get away with murder, poisoning and maiming members of our populace, then more of them will come here to murder, poison and maim.  They might even employ a few people before shipping those jobs out-of-state and the country, but, hey.  ABC Chemical of Oklahoma might decide to come here to rape and pillage the people and the environment, and isn’t that a good thing?  Stop complaining about that hacking cough -- you want jobs or not?

But Walker and the Republicans are making it perfectly clear that the first order of business for their regime is not jobs.  They are primarily concerned with locking in their own power; making permanent their control of state government for years and decades to come.  And they are not even going to pretend to play fair. 

We have already discussed their attack on democracy by a radical revision of Wisconsin’s election law; changes that will have the desired effect of eliminating the votes of thousands of eligible voters in demographically Democratic districts.   The second prong of the GOP’s mad push for permanent power is in the more traditional route of redistricting. As if the situation wasn’t bad enough, given the numbers involved, the Republicans have made the unprecedented move to shut out the Democrats from having any input at all into the decennial drawing of the lines. As Republicans lawyered-up for the process, they expressly prevented the Democrats from doing the same thing.

You don’t need lawyers to draw district lines.  That will be done in the background by Republican demographers (probably in Washington) who will try to design the greatest number of safe districts for the party in power.  The lawyers are only necessary to make the newly drawn lines stick.  Lawyers for the party out of power are essential to at least try to convince the GOP lawyers that their lines are somehow illegal (such as the creation of racially-segregated districts designed to ghetto-ize Democratic voters).  Keeping Democratic lawyers out of the process at the outset increases the chances of expensive litigation once the redistricting is imposed by fiat.  The supposed fiscal conservatives apparently don’t mind throwing millions upon millions at their friendly law firms. 

As a Republican, you know you have gone off the rails when even the Journal Sentinel’s resident wing-nut, Patrick McIlheran, can’t stomach your tactics. In a short post on his blog that avoids his usual lengthy prattle, Paddy Mac mildly advises his fellow travelers that the lawyer-barring “does not seem gracious or deliberative”, like he ever cared about that before. 

For its part, the other members of the Journal Sentinel editorial board also weigh in with an editorial. Titled “Beware Overreaching”, the paper tells those who had already overreached that they “might have forgone the high-priced law firm this year and opted to have the Legislative Reference Bureau do the work”.  The mere suggestion that redistricting would be submitted to a neutral body like the LRB must have produced peels of laughter in the dark recesses of the GOP boiler room.

The editorial also outrageously blames the Democrats for their own beating. “Democrats are crying foul. But they should look in the mirror,” scolds Journal Sentinel.  Not that the Dems have ever tried a stunt like this before – they haven’t.  But, apparently, they were supposed to have “reformed” the redistricting process when they were in power, something that has never been on anybody’s agenda, much less the newspaper’s.  If anyone needs to look in the mirror, it is the Journal Sentinel editorial board, who endorsed Walker and now has to rationalize every radical step the unfettered Republicans take.

On its news pages, the paper also tries to provide the Republicans with an out for their legal gamesmanship, “reporting” that, while their work on redistricting was pre-approved, the GOP’s lawyer bills weren’t paid by the Dems because they were not detailed enough (I guess it’s hard to find a way to bill all those phone calls to the RNC political office to the state, but they’ll find a way).  The headline of the story (which is all most people ever read) – “Democrats refused to pay Senate GOP’s attorneys for redistricting work in last session” – gives the deliberately misleading impression that the Democrats have done the same thing as the Republicans are doing this year.  They didn’t, but that hardly matters to the paper’s right-wing editors.

This plague-on-both-their-houses meme is not new to the Journal Sentinel in their defense of Republican behavior.  But they are going to have a hard time maintaining it as the radical Republican agenda unfolds.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Election Day 2010 – The End Of An Era

The last freely democratic election day in Wisconsin began before 7 a.m. in the lobby of Christ Memorial Lutheran Church at 31st and Thurston on the near northwest side of Milwaukee.

The chief inspector for the day in Ward 157 was Pat (OK, I’m bad with names.  I think it was Pat.  Let’s call her Pat.).  Pat is a retired but hardly elderly woman who spent the entire day treating her staff, all election observers and her beloved voters with respect, understanding and – yes – love.  I got there shortly before 7 and stayed out of the way while Pat’s staff of seven or eight made their final preparations and a small group of voters gathered patiently at the entrance.  At 7:00 a.m. sharp, Pat invited the voters to the tables where her workers were ready with voter lists; checking off names, handing out ballots, and proceeding with the smooth administration of the ultimate exercise of their sacred franchise.

After the first flush of voters came and went, Pat took the time to come over and talk to me, moving her face closer than you’d expect from a stranger, but that was Pat – she talked that way to everyone – even the Republicans who were there off and on during the day (always in pairs – what did they think was going to happen?  Didn’t they trust each other?).  A charming woman with a story to tell if you had the time – and, boy, did I ever have the time – Pat chatted about what she and her husband did before retirement, about how long she had been running these elections, about anything you wanted to talk about – except politics. 

Once in a while, she would spot a familiar voter and give them a big hug and spend some time catching up on the kinds of things people catch up on during these too-few civic gatherings.  A rejected ballot would immediately get her expert and kind attention.  She would take the voter aside and explain why the machine spit it back (usually an overvote – voting for more than one candidate in a particular race), give them a fresh ballot, always making sure, as best she could, that the voter accomplished what they came there to do – record a vote for the candidate(s) of their choice.

In other words, Pat wasn’t there to be a Photo ID-checking traffic cop – she was there to help people vote in a biennial ritual of community decision-making.  Who knows how many of the mostly working-class African American and elderly voters in Ward 157 who properly stated their name and address and received a ballot would have found themselves without a photo ID and been turned away under the state Republicans’ promised voter suppression scheme?

There was at least one undeniably eligible voter from November 2nd who would not have been able to receive a ballot under Photo ID, much less with the elimination of on-site registration also promised by the local puppets of the RNC.  A woman came in mid-day and, as she probably had every two years for the past 20 years, gave the workers her name and address and asked for her ballot.  One problem – her name had mysteriously disappeared off the rolls.  After a half-hour of phone calls, she was told that her registration was moved to another ward, to an address of an income property that she had bought in the past year.  She still lived in ward 157 – never moved her residence.  But the city, in it’s wisdom, somehow moved or eliminated her registration by mistake.

So, what’s a voter to do?  Should she have driven over to the ward of the rental property she owned?  I can hear Belling’s screeching now – woman votes where she doesn’t live!  She wasn’t going to do that.  All she wanted was a damn ballot – her ballot, after all.  But wait!  You get knocked off the rolls by accident, there is (or was) an easy solution – she can re-register on-site!  But she didn’t bring a photo ID or a utility bill or any of the other proof of residence allowed under current law.  I suggested that someone vouch for her, which is my favorite last-resort aspect of the law -- if a registered voter (with ID!) knows you and knows you live at the address you give, they can vouch for you without you having to come up with any documentation.  Alas, she had come there alone and nobody could vouch for her.

She was pissed – what was supposed to take 5 minutes was now stretching into an hour.  She didn’t want to go home and get her damn ID and come back – why should she have to?  She left and no one knew if she would return.  But she did, about an hour later.  Registered on site.  Voted. Another disenfranchisement avoided by Pat, her crew and Wisconsin’s progressive election law.

There would be no recourse for her under the new Republican regime.  Her vote would be lost and the historical purpose of Wisconsin election law – if you’re eligible, you get to vote – would be defeated. 

There’s another story about an elderly black woman who I gave a ride to from an assisted living facility that day.  That wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing, but a call came in to one of the poll workers that she needed a ride and I needed some fresh air anyway, so I volunteered. Very kind, polite and fragile, it took an hour to get her from the home, into the voting booth in her walker, and back to the home again.  She was old enough to remember a time when she was not allowed to vote – if she was down south, definitely so.  No one else at the assisted living facility seemed to be all that fired up about it, but she seemed to feel it was her duty.  Imagine next year, when she goes to the polling place and finds out that she can’t vote because she doesn’t have a photo ID.  What sense does that make?

Not that the Republican’s care.  Every missed vote in a place like Ward 157 is a victory for them.  There was a white Republican voter who showed up in the middle of the day and made a point of showing his driver’s license to the workers, waving it around to all of them in the room.  “See, it’s me,” he bragged, making his point that everyone should have to show it. The workers shrugged, gave him his ballot and off he went.  He’ll always have his goddamn ID.  So what?  It doesn’t make him a better citizen than the elderly black woman or anybody else. But he sure thinks it does.

One thing you didn’t see in Ward 157 that day was any hint of fraud.  The voters came in and took their duty seriously.  The workers were diligent and checked the rolls and counted the ballots.  Various quiet dramas were resolved, with no fanfare.  The voters were presumed honest and eligible, with no reason to believe otherwise.  The day ended as it began, with careful calculations and protection of the ballots.  And a hug from Pat.

Things are going to look much different in Ward 157 and every other polling place in the state when the new restrictions on voting take effect.  Voters will be presumed guilty until proven eligible.  Photo ID and prior registration will be demanded.  Thousands of  eligible voters will be turned away or, as the Republicans want, won’t try to vote at all.  The first election under the new law will be a dark day indeed.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Republicans to Democracy: Drop Dead

Wisconsin is about to enter an extraordinary experiment in the radical right-wing destruction of state government.  With the complete takeover of both houses of the legislature and the installation of GOP establishment puppet Scott Walker, as governor, powerful business interests and Republican political operatives from outside and inside the state are about to create an ugly new era of government by and for the Rich. 

And, for the Rich, there will be no end to the return on their investment in the Boy Governor and the lock-step legislature they bought in 2010. The environment will be exploited and destroyed; state functions will be privatized and handed to well-connected contractors on a grand scale; the poor and working class will be targeted with huge cuts to medical care, child care, food stamps and rent assistance; regulations that protect the health, welfare and natural resources of Wisconsinites will be unenforced and outright eliminated; and public education will be defunded and undermined.  And, of course, there will be the right’s favorite kind of income redistribution: tax cuts. Money that used to be spent on your Badger Care Plus will now fund the new motor on John Menard’s boat.  Without so much as a “thank you”.

Yep – Wisconsin is Open for Business, alright, and screw the rest of y’all. But, for all their supposed faith in Trickle Down economics and alleged focus on jobs, jobs, jobs, the Republicans have something more important as the first order of business on Day 1.  Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald promises to skip all the silly jobs stuff (perhaps knowing that throwing money at the Rich isn’t going to create one job, anyway) and go straight to the destruction of democracy in Wisconsin.  Job One: requiring Photo ID from voters and eliminating on-site registration.

Having spent three of the last four election days as a poll-watcher in Wisconsin polling places – in Crandon in ‘04, and the last two in the City of Milwaukee – I will mourn the death of the free, uncomplicated, friendly process I have had the privilege of observing as a member of the Democratic Party’s Voter Protection program.  All of our training – open to any Republican or Tea Bagger who cared to attend – was designed to make sure anyone who showed up at the polls was able to vote if they were eligible.  The presumption in every polling place was that citizens were coming in to exercise their sacred franchise in good faith.  As it should be. But, in a bold and cynical move to preserve their own power now and, perhaps, forever, the Republicans are going to turn that presumption on its head.  Starting as soon as next month in the spring primary elections, you will be presumed guilty of voter fraud until you prove otherwise.

Despite endless squawking off of GOP talking points by talk-radio Republicans who know better, this has nothing to do with voter fraud and everything to do with voter suppression.  That we know of – and, believe me, you would have heard about it – no one has ever misrepresented themselves and voted under somebody else's name.  No one has been caught abusing the on-site registration system by voting somewhere other than where they live.  A few felons and other people who weren’t supposed to have voted, but, out of the millions of voters in Wisconsin every cycle, you can almost count them on two hands.  More importantly – and contrary to the constant claims by GOP shills like Mark Belling Charlie Sykes that Democrats have “stolen” elections – no one has ever shown that any of the scofflaws were part of any organized campaign of voter fraud. 

Photo ID is not even a solution looking for a problem; it is a hijacking of the electoral system by a party that knows no shame in their blatant propagation of lies (through talk radio and Fox News) to suppress voters who might not support them.  The Journal Sentinel editorial board – who, due to their idiotic endorsement of Walker, will have the forthcoming death of Wisconsin’s progressive government on its bloody hands – is too kind in its mild wrist-slap of Fitzgerald’s rush to grab ballots out of the hands of the poor, the elderly and the unphotographed.  The editorial presumes a modicum of good faith by those who have none. Photo ID doesn’t just have “the potential to dampen more legitimate votes”. It is designed to do just that.

But this is only the beginning.  The Republicans who are about to take over the State Capitol are not your father’s GOP, or even your older brother’s.  Tommy Thompson was a greedy thug who rewarded his friends and punished non-supporters back in the ‘90s, but he kept the basic structure and mission of the state government in place.  These guys coming in tomorrow are a new generation of radical right-wing revolutionaries, who will destroy state government as we know it; and make sure – through old schemes like redistricting and new ones like Photo ID – that they hold on to power for a generation.  You won’t be able to recognize your polling place in the spring.  And you won’t recognize your state government after they are done with it.

Atop the Capitol, Miss Forward will strain to maintain her composure as the Republicans open the blueprints devised by GOP consultants in Washington and begin to dismantle state government in the service of their corporate masters.  On January 3rd, at noon, shed a tear for her and for us. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

UPDATE: One thing I didn't think I missed during my hiatus were the comments I often got from unbalanced anonymous Republicans.  Many were stupid, which you'd expect, but others were uncomfortably hostile (the worst of which did not survive my screening -- here's a sample).  But, I must say, this one I got today takes the cake:
You forgot Mike...not only is it easy for the "teabagger" as you put it to vote but (here is where we find out how tolerant you are) it is easy for the "acorn nigger or spic" to steal that vote by doing it illegally. We have names of those that voted illegally either more than once or in the wrong district so the Barrett crowd of only one name does not work cause we have names...of those that voted, and thereby stole my vote, illegally.
Brilliant, no? No. But the comment offers the kind of clarity you don't often see about who they (or too many of them) are and why we fight.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Welcome to Mondo Media

After an extremely depressing November election -- especially in Wisconsin, where our tradition of progressive government is about to be destroyed by a determined cadre of radical right-wing unchecked Republicans -- and a long, clean break from my erratic posting as Plaisted Writes, I have decided to jump back into the fray. 

This page has a new name (but the same address, just so it's easier for my previous readers to find me). Mondo Media is the name of a column of media commentary I had back in the early '80s at the Daily Cardinal.  I also used it axs one of several titles on a vastly-unread Salon blog I had before this one.  I tried to find something more clever and less used.  Generation of Swine was a contender, aptly describing, as it does, the Republicans about to descend on Madison; but, who wants to get in a conflict with the Hunter Thompson estate?  Not with all those guns still, no doubt, stored and ready at Woody Creek.  Revolution Blues was another possibility; but that Neil Young chestnut about the musings of a Manson-ish clan member ("I hear that Laurel Canyon is full of famous stars/But I hate them worse than lepers and I'll kill them in their cars") can be, well, misunderstood.  So, Mondo Media it is for now, but I'm open to suggestions. 

The focus will remain somewhat the same, but I hope to mix it up a bit.  Another goal I have is to have a regular publication schedule, for the benefit of both my readers' expectations and my own disciplinary needs (which are many).  I'm thinking about a Tuesday/Friday/Sunday schedule.  It would all depend on work and family priorities, but it might work most of the time.  I can't do the short stuff (for that, I again recommend the brilliant IT), so I'll probably stay with longer essays, much to the consternation of my most trusted advisers.

In any event, tomorrow's post will take the radical Republcians to task for their direct attack on democracy in Wisconsin, which they have pledged to make their first order of business. 

Thanks to all those who wanted to read more of my writing.  I hope to provide a better and more consistent place for me and my readers to write, read, think, argue and comment.  See you there (here).