Waste the Rainbow

River of red Skittles coats Dodge County highway:

A rain-soaked box aboard a flatbed pickup truck ruptured in Dodge County, coating a stretch of County Highway S in Beaver Dam with hundreds of thousands of red Skittles, the sheriff’s office reported Wednesday.

. . . .

The Dodge County Highway Department was called to clean up the candy-coated shells – packed with such yummy ingredients as sugar, corn syrup, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, tapioca dextrin, sodium citrate and carnauba wax – which were intended to be cattle feed because they did not make the cut for packaging, according to the sheriff’s office.

I’ll get back to you when I think of an appropriate punchline.

No, wait, I’ve got it!

So this is where Uncle Herb’s Flavored Milk comes from! Except they don’t call the flavored milk booth at the Wisconsin State Fair Uncle Herb’s these days.

Book Report: Wisconsin Place Names: A Pronouncing Gazetteer compiled by Harold A. Engel (1968)

Book coverThis book is a collection of Wisconsin place names with pronunciations for each. It has been published in three editions starting in the 1930s; this edition is from 1968, and it’s a product of the University of Wisconsin Extension Office. So it’s not unlike the provenance of David Burton’s A History of Rural Schools in Greene County, Missouri.

At any rate, I flipped through the book while watching a Packers football game, and I tried to say the names before I read the pronunciations, and I did fairly well, I think. Of course, the names are all said relatively like they look (and I’m steeped from my youth in saying Native American Indian place names). So it’s quite unlike Missouri place names, where even when you think you should know how to pronounce it, you’re wrong (see Boliver, Cuba, Nevada, and so on).

I did have a couple of disputes with it, though. Here’s a sample page, by the way, with one of the disputed pronunciations:

Wisconsin does not have an O sound in it; it is wisKHANsin. Also, there is no L in Mi’WAHkee.

But a quick and interesting flip through during the football game, as I said.

Basically, It’s A Monroe Press Release in USA Today

I found an article called Top 5 places for a Wisconsin cheese pilgrimage.

You know how I can tell it’s not a real top list? It does not include Mars Cheese Castle.

Instead, it identifies five places all in Monroe, Wisconsin to visit.

Given all the cheese in Wisconsin, this seems a rather tightly focused list. Almost as though the “journalist” merely regurgitated a list of places from a Monroe Chamber of Commerce brochure.

Not that there’s anything wrong with Monroe, Wisconsin, or its effective outreach that has gleaned national attention.

But, come on. All five destinations are in the same town? Who would fall for that? Right. People not from Wisconsin. Who read the newspaper.

Hail, Caesar! Media Perpetuates the Story of the Omnipotent Executive

I forget where I saw this link, but the Business Insider’s story is entitled Wisconsin Republican: Women Are Paid Less Because ‘Money Is More Important For Men’, and it’s about how the state of Wisconsin no longer has an equal pay law.

According to the Business Insider, this is Scott Walker’s doing:

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker opened up a new front in the GOP’s war against women last week when he overturned his state’s equal pay law, which made it easier for workers to sue their employers for wage discrimination.

Business Insider links to its earlier piece, entitled The Governor Of Wisconsin May Have Just Blown The Election For Mitt Romney, which puts the repeal on the governor of Wisconsin again:

The Democrats “GOP War On Women” rallying cry got a major lift from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker today, with the news that the Republican darling repealed a Wisconsin law that made it easier for women to fight wage discrimination.

The Huffington Post reports that Walker quietly overturned Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act last night, bowing to pressure from the state’s Republican lawmakers. The equal pay law was designed to deter wage discrimination by making it easier for workers to press charges against their employers.

Got that? Walker overturned the law, and Walker quietly overturned the law. How did he do this? Fiat? Diktat? Executive order? We have to go to the Huffington Post story linked in the second story to learn how Walker acted unilaterally:

A Wisconsin law that made it easier for victims of wage discrimination to have their day in court was repealed on Thursday, after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) quietly signed the bill.

The 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act was meant to deter employers from discriminating against certain groups by giving workers more avenues via which to press charges. Among other provisions, it allows individuals to plead their cases in the less costly, more accessible state circuit court system, rather than just in federal court.

In November, the state Senate approved SB 202, which rolled back this provision. On February, the Assembly did the same. Both were party-line votes in Republican-controlled chambers.

SB 202 was sent to Walker on March 29. He had, according to the state constitution, six days to act on the bill. The deadline was 5:00 p.m. on Thursday. The governor quietly signed the bill into law on Thursday, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau, and it is now called Act 219.

Wait a minute: The executive branch of government did not act unilaterally, but merely signed a bill passed by both houses of Wisconsin’s legislature? That is, the elected representatives of Wisconsin debated and passed a bill, Scott Walker unilaterally declared war on Women by performing his duty and signing it?

Although the body of the article gets it right, the Huffington Post still pins it on Scott Walker in the headline, “Scott Walker Quietly Repeals Wisconsin Equal Pay Law”.

I realize that, with a Federal executive who ignores the legislature and the courts, that is, the co-equal branches of government, the whole Constitutional civics thing gets purposefully murky.

But can’t “journalists” bother to know the difference between signing a bill and an executive acting like a lone wolf? Or would that threaten the new order, where executives are more than figureheads and have sweeping powers that they should only use for good, or what passes for good in Democrat minds?

Republican Democracy Fails Again

Republicans take 4 of 6 in recall elections, hold Senate:

Democrats won two state Senate seats in Tuesday’s historic recall elections, but failed to capture a third seat that would have given them control of the chamber.

By keeping a majority in the Senate, Republicans retained their monopoly on state government because they also hold the Assembly and governor’s office. Tuesday’s elections narrowed their majority – at least for now – from 19-14 to a razor-thin 17-16.

If only there were some way the people could have voiced their opinions!

Aside from the election in 2010, the Supreme Court election, the recall elections….

(More from Wisconsonites Troglopundit and Ann Althouse.)

What Was Wrong With Trial By Combat?

Bill could change how Supreme Court chooses chief justice:

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court would be given the power to elect its chief justice under a constitutional amendment that could be introduced to the state Legislature as early as next week.

The bill authored by Rep. Tyler August, R-Walworth, would end a longstanding rule that gives the court’s highest seat to the person with the most seniority. Instead, the seven justices would gather to choose their own chief following any Supreme Court election.

They go by seniority? I thought they selected the chief justice in a fight.

(Link seen on Boots and Sabers.)

Keeping Out the Undesireables — The Students

The mayor of Waukesha, Wisconsin, is against an expansion of the local University of Wisconsin (Mayor backs UW-Waukesha: Lombardi wants Doyle to veto UWM merger proposal):

    Mayor Carol Lombardi has urged Gov. Jim Doyle to veto a plan for merging two college campuses in the Milwaukee area, saying that the move toward consolidation stems from “more politics than practical study.”

    Lombardi also said that making the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha part of UW-Milwaukee would strain her city’s police force and other resources if the suburban campus must be expanded.

Gentle reader, what motivation for this position would be the least odious?

  • She doesn’t want the urban people who go to UWM to infect Waukesha. Since she brings up the cost of police protection, I think this is probably her motive.
  • She’s holding the state up for more money, grants, and so on for her fiefdom to spend.
  • She doesn’t think government consolidation and efficiency are worthwhile goals if they cut into her pork.
  • She fears the loss of prestige for Waukesha if there’s not a University of Wisconsin-Waukesha. Come to think of it, that’s all the prestige Waukesha might have. In the right light.

This Land Is Our Land, This Land Is Our Land

It has come to this: in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, Aurora Health Care wants to build a hospital, but some residents oppose it because a hospital won’t generate as much taxes as a business park in the same spot:

    Others, however, argued that the prime parcel of town land should be utilized as intended in the master plan for a business park that would bring in more tax revenue than the non-profit hospital despite a pledge by Aurora officials to make payments in lieu of taxes to be negotiated with the town.

    “I want every possible dollar that land could give for our town; I don’t think that it should be negotiated,” said Mark Lathers, adding that he cannot negotiate his tax bill.

Worse, it will:

    Others who testified agreed with arguments made by officials of Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital that the planned 88-bed Aurora hospital would only duplicate services already offered by Oconomowoc Memorial and that would drive up costs for all area consumers of health care.

Unlike the business park, which will provide a whole new set of cubicle farms engaged in business activities and service offerings that will be unique to the area.

Meanwhile, some critics (and the parrots who report uncritically their assertions) explain how supply and demand works: More hospitals means higher costs!

    Neil Coakley said health insurance costs are already skyrocketing and many in the health care industry blame Aurora for driving up prices – an assertion that Aurora officials have strongly denied.

Of course, Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital has the best interests of the community at heart:

    Oconomowoc Memorial officials and representatives of a community coalition called Not Another Hospital said the Aurora hospital is not needed, that there already is a surplus of hospital beds in the area and that consumers would pick up the cost for additional surplus hospital capacity.

Competition is bad for the community.

In an age where cataclysmic attacks can yield thousands of casualties, I have nothing to offer to anti-competitive health care providers and those who love them, including residents who would rather have tax dollars for amenities like water parks or whatever the hell tchotchkes municipalities in Wisconsin waste taxdollars on than hospitals. Nothing but a hearty unwritten mandate and appropriate hand gestures.

Adhering to the Highest Standards in the State

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports about the difficulty Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr., has in firing a deputy:

As a dispute escalates over discipline of wayward deputies, Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. is trying again to fire a deputy who kept his job after smashing into another car and fleeing while intoxicated off duty.

Clarke is attempting to build a perjury case against Deputy Victor Erato III, whose dismissal was overturned by the county’s Personnel Review Board.

Swell. Drinking and driving and leaving the scene of the accident. In retrospect, it does seem harsh to hold some blue collar working law enforcement official who has a chance of getting shot every day to a higher standard than the state’s attorney general, Peggy Lotsalager.

On the other hand, why does the Personnel Review Board and so many other oppose standards of behavior for law enforcement officials? Do they want to have authorities that citizens can easily disrespect?


As you might have noticed, gentle readers, I have not posted in a while. I spent a luxurious weekend in my favorite travel destination, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I celebrated my birthday by helping yet another friend move. It’s not that I have a lot of friends in Wisconsin, it’s that they move around frequently.

It wasn’t all hard work; I got to spend a couple nights at the beautiful Hyatt Regency, enjoying the skyline from the 17th floor because I specifically requested a low floor. I felt somewhat cosmopolitan in my hotel room, with my laptop, writing blog entries and whatnot. The Hyatt offers wireless Internet access in all of its rooms now, a plastic placard let me know. Swell. So how come you’re getting this dump now, instead of as it happened on Friday and Saturday?

Because my laptop is an IBM ThinkPad. You know how new ThinkPads have numbers after them? My laptop does not; it’s an original ThinkPad. Its carbon-dating establishes its origin circa 1993. It runs Windows 3.11, but it has almost 20 Mb free on the hard drive of the original 40.

I fail as a TruGeek(tm) because I don’t need the latest in equipment. After I reset the date and time (or not) to workaround a dead CMOS, I can type text into my laptop’s Wordpad using a microscopic keyboard. That’s why I bring the laptop around, in case I get inspired to start on yet another unfinished but promising novel concept. It’s a typewriter in which I can cut and paste, and from which I can import the result into a real word processor on my main PC through the world’s last 3.5″ floppy disk. Plus, it can play one or two really slick games I downloaded from BBSes while I was in college.

I don’t need a tablet PC or a new AMD 2000+ laptop with 20″ screen. I paid an extra $40 in 1997 for a used notebook with a color monitor, for crying out loud. I don’t have a Personal Data Assistant, and I don’t even use the free magazine giveaway electronic addressbook to organize the dozen phone numbers of my friends or the two dozen names on my Christmas card list. iPods? I can whistle off-key for free, you damn kids!

So, did you miss me? Is that why you’re reloading?