Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, June 30, 2005

When the Going Gets Tough

The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons…

We agree that the Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons…

If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today -- and we do -- does it make any sense for the world to wait to confront him as he grows even stronger and develops even more dangerous weapons?...

Every chemical and biological weapon that Iraq has or makes is a direct violation of the truce that ended the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Yet, Saddam Hussein has chosen to build and keep these weapons despite international sanctions, U.N. demands, and isolation from the civilized world…

It’s no mystery whose words these are, these are from a speech Bush the Lesser gave in Cincinnati four nights before the vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq. It’s one thing to hear that he wasn’t right about WMD’s, it’s quite another to look at his actual words and believe for a moment that this is anything but the intentional terrorizing of one’s own people in order to further an agenda. I was rummaging around in here because I wanted to make a point about this last speech; that in analyzing it in light of the 2002 speech and applying the same level of dishonesty things do not bode well for the state of affairs in Iraq.

That was yesterday. Today I was put back on the track by a Brit, of all people, Brendon O’Neill of Spiked Online Magazine, who came on my radio to remind me that lying politicians are nothing new and really not the point to the anti-war effort. The war is immoral of its own accord. It is immoral to punch someone in the face because you fear that some day they will be big enough to punch back. It is extremely bad form to preemptively invade a sovereign county, period. Even while I half believed the administration’s fear mongering litany of lies I knew this fact, no Downing Street memo has any bearing on the truth of it.

The “war” has no bearing on our defense, it’s offensive. Iraq isn’t a nation and will never be one. The “insurgency” is just a continuation of centuries of sectarian violence. The British couldn’t control these people with twice the force per capita. All the oil in Iraq won’t fuel our internally combusted life style for very long. The neo-cons will never bring democracy to anyone because, quite clearly, they don’t believe in it themselves.

Stop the war, first and foremost. Call the UN and tell them we’re bugging out. Sorry, a bit of temporary insanity of our own fundamentalists. Good luck with it, but we gotta go. Let the Chinese keep the peace; that oughta take us off the effigy pole.

Where are the signs? Where are the bumper stickers? Demonstrations? Where are the artists, musicians and poets?

Soon, I think.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Has Anybody Seen My Ethics?

There's nothing quite so refreshing as an utter breakdown of ethics. Case in point.

I'm giving an estimate to very nice lady on a Saturday morning. We measure up her yard and talk a little about materials and styles and I ask if she has a survey plat handy so I can verify some dimensions. "Sure, come on in," she says, and off we go to take a look at it.

Slashing diagonally across the back yard of the home she closed on a week previously was a fifty foot easement. There was no other description of this easement, just the word "easement". Having done a job quite close by I realized immediately that underneath this easement was a 30" diameter high pressure natural gas transmission pipeline. "How interesting that the surveyor didn't further describe this," I thought to myself, "I'll just bet..."

"Did you know that there was a gas pipeline, a big one that runs to Madison, WI, in your backyard?" I ask.


"The realtor didn't mention this?"


"Your lawyer didn't say anything?"


"Well, apparently your surveyor wasn't very interested in making it clear to you either, because the type of an easement is included on the plat 99.99% of the time."

Now, If you read my curriculum vitae above, you might remember that I was briefly a Realtor® and, though laws certainly vary from state to state, I'm pretty sure that one is to disclose such things that may materially effect the value of a property to the buyer. It seemed to me that this would certainly affect the desirability of the property, but I decided to try to find out if this was actually true.

The first thing I wanted to find out was, are these things safe? Here's the dope:

About 81 transmission pipeline incidents occurred and caused more $24 million in property damage in 2002 while 102 distribution incidents happened and costs $23 million, according to the Department of Transportation's Office of Pipeline Safety. Those combined accidents resulted in10 deaths and 50 injuries.

Utilipoint International

Most of the pipeline accidents are attributable to stress corrosion cracking, many of these happening within 20 miles of a compression station, which I gather is like an intermediate pumping station. The gas is hotter from being compressed and there are apparently some other chemical things going on just down system from these stations that aid the corrosion process. So, these things do get old. Some are abandoned, but quite often that means a new line running down the same route, which certainly affects homeowners significantly when they cross a populated area. They are tested with hydraulic pressure, and more recently robotic probes. Some do blow up, not many. A 30" one will light a candle 150' thick. This line runs 30' from my customer's house.

So who owns this pipe and how long has it been there? Are there any additional lines proposed for this route? Does the company who owns this line have safety issues? I tried to find some of this out. All I did was probably add a few paragraphs to my dossier with Homeland Security, as this is fairly well guarded information. I'm pretty sure a terrorist could easily figure out where pipelines are anyway, but there is no public map on the internet I can find. I did find one of Illinois for $395.00. I didn't buy it.

So that's none of my business, fine, so let's see if anyone has discussed the effect on residential property value a 50' easement and/or pipeline might have.

There is one and only one study of such a thing, done shortly after a residential park blew up in Bellingham, Washington on a nice, otherwise quiet day, killing three people. Values averaged 5% lower in general, spiking to 20% in the aftermath of a reasonably local accident, then settling again to the 5%. There is also a critique of this study by a scholar well connected the real estate industry questioning its methodology. That's it, near as I can tell.

What does the industry say about it? This question comes up in every "We're building a pipeline through your area" web site Q & A, every time with an answer similar to, "There is no historical evidence that the existence of a pipeline affects property values."

It's a non-answer, but the tone of it certainly suggests "no effect". This belief would necessitate your believing that no potential buyer would list the existence of a pipeline and/or 50' easement in a backyard on the negative side of the argument for execution or negotiating more aggressively the purchase of a home. No one might want to build an addition or swimming pool on the easement, no one is concerned about their landscaping or fencing being subject to removal in the case of repairs or the quite common reuse of the easement for another pipeline. No potential buyer will be concerned that the damn thing might just blow up some day.

Of course, if you don't tell any potential buyers about the pipeline, it quite likely won't have an effect!

But then suppose my customer, instead of buying a fence, wanted to plant a row of mature arbor vitae off of the standard utility easement. The contractor can tell where the standard utility lines are, and he's willing to wing it without a permit (people ask us to do this all the time). In go the claws of the hydraulic digger and BOOM!

Someone really should have told her, I figure. Although all these people will point out that the property's value is not affected by the pipeline, not one saw fit to mention it's existence, even though there are many ways a homeowner might endanger themselves and others in the normal course of improving their property. That they didn't means to me that we have a Realtor®, a lawyer or two, a surveyor, and a bunch of corporations compromising their ethics and, in the process, endangering numerous lives.

What an endearing little snapshot of our greedy little society!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

God's Money Machine

Maybe this should be an item for the old millennium time capsule. Was flipping through the buttons on the radio the other day and I heard the words, "...and prosper financially according to Jesus Christ's plan..." Well, I do have a religious channel on one of the preset banks, always a good idea to keep track of one's potential inquisitors, eh? I had stumbled upon Moneymatters, a syndicated show put out by the Crown Financial Ministries. Here's their mission statement:

They sell books, lots of books. They sell CD's and DVD's and T-shirts and just about anything you can think of. They'll come to your church, hold a seminar, sell you the speaker and take a cut from the spoken to. Then they'll ask for a donation so's they can gas up the $400,000 God mobile and head on down to the next stop.

For a mere $149.00 I can attend the "Business by the Book" seminar and learn answers to those nagging questions:

  • How can I determine the purpose of my work/business?
  • What should be our relationship to our employees?
  • How can we operate our businesses with integrity?
  • How can I collect biblically what is due?
  • How can I determine godly long-range goals?
  • Should Christians be involved in partnerships?
  • How and when should I lend money and/or extend credit?
  • How can I compete and honor God?
  • What role should my spouse play?
  • How can I create a biblically based corporate culture?

I particularly was wondering how to collect "biblically" what is due and perhaps I should kick in the extra $40 spousal fee so my wife can get straight from the horse's angel's mouth what her role should be in all of this. You can download the map to financial freedom if you like, that only requires your registering and getting spam for the rest of your account's life.

Not much of generated funds goes anywhere, according to A full 56% of expenses are related to putting Moneymatters on the air, and there's not much left after other "miscellaneous" ministerial expenses for Crown to fund the "Great Commission". That's up those good Christians who finish the course, chase out the moneychangers and get their life in order.

Then they can help fund more book publishers, pharmaceutical houses, food processors, transportation companies and the myriad of other good "biblically based" corporations enthusiastically supporting the global evangelical mission, each with it's own mission statement, volunteers, and underpaid staff sworn to such mission statements as a condition of employment.

Thinking about the self-serving circularity of this flow and all those massive churches and Bible schools popping up all over the suburbs and one begins to see the enormity of the Christian Financial Empire, built for Christians by Christians, the exclusivity of which is unashamedly held.

If you're "growing in the walk" you can head off to Singapore or Taiwan and recruit people for Crown cells. Later, follow up teams will swoop down and organize these recruits to do the same and so on and so on. Just like Avon only it's "Jesus calling" (and all the money goes up the chain).

God's financial plan? More like Mary Kay's, except no car.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

It Takes an Airport to Raise a Child

Silver Bird

I remember the night
I remember it well
How you came to the light
How you came to the world, but then
How is my child today?

Take a walk in the park
And watch the girls and boys
Take a look in the closet
See all the toys, but then
How is my child today?

O, silver bird
Bound for the Eastern sky
You take a piece of my heart
And now you've made me cry
O, silver bird
Bound for the Eastern sky
See you slipping away

So we talked on the phone
Just the other day
And we both felt the pain
Of having nothing to say, but then
How is my child today?

You know I'll always be yours
And you'll always be mine
We'll be together
Together in time, but then
How is my child today?

O, silver bird
Bound for the Eastern sky
You take a piece of my heart
And now you've made me cry
O, silver bird
Bound for the Eastern sky
See you slipping away

© 1990 Sequoit Songs

The chorus of this song was conceived while standing on the top deck of the O'Hare Airport parking garage, as I watched a Swiss Air jumbo-liner rotate off runway 32R. Aboard was my eight year old, bound for Nice, France with a change in Zurich. I wouldn't see him again for 10 months, and I was understandably concerned that these separations would diminish our relationship.

Maybe it was the quality of the time we spent during his first five years, when I could be with him all morning before heading to work, or maybe it was the intensity of our two months a year when we would spend every moment together, but the fear of losing him turned out to be unfounded. We remain at times spooky close in spite of the geographical constraints. You see, there's always more than one way to skin a cat, more than one way of reaching a goal. Determination overcomes adversity and a stronger, more elastic version of a father/son relationship stands where a more conventionally structured one might suffer deep faults from the forces of daily life.

And so now I remember most from that late summer's day not the image of that plane banking softly right into the great circle route for Europe, but the matter-of-fact words of my already worldly son, "Well, I better get on the plane now." Perhaps he knew better at that moment than I that planes arrive and planes depart, that his mother would be awaiting him on the other end, as I would be next time; that these times were always as much about reunion as separation.

So we said our good-byes and he headed down the jetway in the company of some lovely Swiss Air agent to rejoin his other parents and his dog and his English school classmates in the south of France while I turned to head back to the salt mines. Echoes of "The moving walkway is now ending, please look down" would haunt the following days and months when I would miss him.

But replaying this courageous, optimistic, adventurous eight year old heading down the ramp for the other side of the world like it was nothing, really, his father couldn't help but realize eventually how cool it must have been. "I'm takin' this big old jet across the ocean, Dad, and getting on another to take me over the Alps and into the coolest place in the world. By myself."

Already he knew I could appreciate that. Like father, like son.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

What is So Rare?

How do you portray the beauty of such a day to those who know your land only as a simple and endless checkerboard of fields and section roads, occasionally glimpsed from a 40,000' high jetliner window? 74°, dry, scattered clouds adrift on a 10 mph northwest breeze, knee-high corn the color of Kentucky bluegrass and it just doesn't get any more pleasant. Nearly adrift on this sea of fertility, and massaged by this immense but impossibly gentle sky, I wafted my way home this evening.

I was reminded of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, to the point that I might accept that if a truck veered into my lane, well, that was that, my own rapturous ascension(!?) into the unknown having a wonderfully buoyant onset.

I came up behind an impeccable pale butterscotch colored BWM convertible, the middle aged and lovely driver of which adorned with a perfectly Wurther's candy toned baseball cap. The West Palm Beach plate frame was so in keeping with the playfulness of this combination that I remembered vividly the fun of Miami. Those were some days.

I pulled up to traffic alongside a high school baseball field and standing by a fence, not more than 50' away, was the first true love of my life. Lovely as ever she was, and I flashed through all those days of grammar and high school (this love struck in kindergarten). As I took a 20 second candid take of her, I wondered if she was as happy as I was to be alive on such a day. It certainly seemed so, and I suspected that I had chosen well. I didn't honk or wave, just moved on.

I came across a classic car show spread across the lawn of a drive-in restaurant. I thought of my old Toyota Supra, and how on another day like today I might have veered off onto the hodgepodge of Wisconsin's alphabet soup of county trunk A's and B's, to ZZ's, dropping down to third to negotiate the "30 mph ahead" curves at 65. That was fun enough, but today I was perfectly happy with taking my Ford Focus straight down the road I was on.

Farther down the road I crossed a channel from one lake to another, strewn with fifteen or twenty speedboats. I remembered being at the helm under that very bridge while massaging my newly met lover-to-be's feet. To starboard I could see boats gathered at the same sandbar some twenty or so of us would venture to well after happy hour on such endlessly still, heat lightning nights. Still I moved on.

I came to my own modest little house on the prairie, where my little Hun had laid out some eggs and red peppers, and I cooked us up a scramble, adding a little sage, pepper, and garlic salt. She had watermelon and I had peaches.

I took a brandy and she had a CC and ginger ale.

It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Oh, the Weather Outside is...Unremarkable

The chance of rain today is 30%. This follows a period of two weeks of "scattered" storms, the average prediction being something like a 45% possibility of precipitation. During this period we've received all of a quarter inch of rainfall. Now, I follow the weather a lot, and I know the non-dramatic periods, times when no particular broad trends are present, pose a lot of difficulty for forecasters. However, I can't help but feel that the coverage is a bit over-dramatic, that there is a little of "Stayed tuned, in the next segment we may come up with something interesting," in all of this. Setting a record for "doppler indicated" tornadoes is beginning to sound a lot like the boy who cried wolf. Who really takes shelter when a "severe" storm alert mangles the enjoyment of a quiet Sunday afternoon's Cubs game?

And this is just the first guard, the observational players in the weather game. Up the food chain we find the media weather machine. There's nothing like Storm Team 4 to liven up a slow news day. Stay tuned, stay tuned, stay tuned for further updates on the possibility that numerous lightning may accompany that thunder you hear coming. Tomorrow is an "ozone alert" day, so let's just all what, stay home?

I kinda liked the original cable TV weather, which consisted of the local radar screen and the NWS ticker. See that big blob over there? It's getting bigger and it's headed our way. Gonna rain. And incidentally, tornadoes don't sneak up on people who are awake, they come complete with their own warning. When you hear one, you will figure out that it's time to go to the lowest area of your home and try not to shit your britches.

But my oh my, we all stay tuned in one way or another, cuz we crave the drama. Back and forth we go between Fox News and the Weather Channel, ever on the alert for dime size hail threatening our roofs or terrorists darkening our door. Stay tuned, stay tuned for the latest on how many different poisons Al Queda could toss into the Rockford water supply given half a chance. In our next segment, learn how criminals are STEALING YOUR VERY IDENTITY. On tomorrow's show an expert will tell you 20 reasons why should never let your daughter out of the house again. Have a good day. The terrorist alert level is WATCH OUT!

Even in Iraq, where the terrorist alert level is infrared or so, a man can walk up to a crowd, push a button and scatter body parts all over the street. Hail will land where it will land and lightning may strike miles in front of a storm. All the alertness in the world won't make you safer, only crazier.

Turn it off and sit down with a good book. If a storm happens by, lie back and listen to it. It'll tell you all you need to know.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The War Against Terrierism

These are fourteen characteristics common to fascist states, as compiled by a Lawrence Britt:

  1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
  2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, and the like.
  3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, and the like.
  4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
  5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.
  6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes the media are directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media are indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
  7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
  8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.
  9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
  10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
  11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked and governments often refuse to fund the arts.
  12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
  13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
  14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Now, to be honest, the article appears in a publication called Free Inquiry, a publication by Council of Secular Humanism, whose agenda it certainly would be to resist any perceived degree of religion and government lock-stepping. It comes to mind, however, at a time when there is debate over Amnesty International's referral to "our" Guantanamo operation as being the modern "gulag".

"Come now," we respond, "is there really any comparison possible to the Russkies' Siberian nightmare? To the North Koreans?" The argument seems to to be one of degree rather than whether similarities do exist. Britt makes a point in the article that he doesn't believe we're in the same boat with Hitler's Germany, Mussolini's Italy or Stalin's Russia, but clearly he is disturbed, as are many, to see so many of the above traits apparent in America.

When a child is mauled by a pit bull or other dog, a common reaction of the dog's owner goes something like, "He's around children all the time," or, "He's never exhibited this kind of behavior before." Owners will defend the breed, as if viciousness was just some kind of unfortunate circumstance and not the reason they didn't choose a Golden Retriever. The traits are bred, these "loving" pet owners are playing with fire and they know it.

Do we know it?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Ils ont changé ma chanson Ma

Look what they've done to my song, Ma
Look what they've done to my song
Well they tied it up in a plastic bag
And turned it upside down
Look what they've done to my song

The Milwaukee Journal's lead article today is The Millenials, an attempt to lump everyone into one generation or another and assign some types of global cultural attributes to these generations that magically appear and disappear according to upon which side of some as yet undefined set of timeline points one's birth lands.

A principal source for this article was Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation, by Neil Howe and William Strauss. These guys have taken this process to absurd lengths, coming up with this bit of glorious over-simplification:



Famous man

Famous woman

Puritan1588-1617John WinthropAnne Hutchinson
Cavalier1618-1647Nathaniel BaconMary Dyer
Glorious1648-1673Cotton MatherHannah Dustin
Enlightenment1674-1700Peter ZengerMary Musgrove
Awakening1701-1723Benjamin FranklinEliza Pinckney
Liberty1724-1741George WashingtonMercy Warren
Republican1742-1766Thomas JeffersonAbigail Adams
Compromise1767-1791Andrew JacksonDolley Madison
Transcendental1792-1821Abraham LincolnSusan B. Anthony
Gilded1822-1842Ulysses GrantLouisa May Alcott
Progressive1842-1859Woodrow WilsonMary Cassatt
Missionary1860-1882Franklin RooseveltEmma Goldman
Lost1883-1900Dwight EisenhowerDorothy Parker
G.I.1901-1924John KennedyClare Boothe Luce
Silent1925-1942Colin PowellGloria Steinem
Boomer1943-1960Steven SpielbergOprah Winfrey
Gen-X1961-1981Michael JordanJodie Foster
Millennials1982-2002?Frankie MunizMandy Moore

The bold-face denotes "heroic generations".

So just how have we "self-indulgent" boomers done at raising our children? The article portrays us as overbearing, hovering, controlling parents who tend to over-talk everything. Kissinger quotes a Thomas Mintz, author of Huck's Raft;

...It's as if the baby boomers set out to create a generation of "Mini-me's", children who will not only complete them but improve on their own record.

Whoa, what were we thinking!

By the end of the article the impression is that we have a generation in opposition to the "meism" of their parents spending much more time communicating with their parents; a generation bent on achievement encouraged by a generation of dropouts; a generation of "conformists" reared by a generation of "radicals"!

Well, I've said it before and I'll say it again:

Sunday June 05, 2005

To The Editor (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

I find Meg Kissinger’s article, “The Millenials”, to be the latest disturbing example of a trend of revisionist historians labeling the “boomer generation” as “nihilistic”, “excessive”, “meist”, etc.

There are, of course, no generational boundaries, and the enthusiasm to lump classes of folk into some presentation friendly format necessitates such oversights as referring to the Sixties supposed “tune in, turn on, drop out” culture as influencing the pool of 1975’s eighteen year olds.

Nobody took Tim Leary very seriously in 1970, let alone by 1975, nor was our world accurately portrayed by Laugh In; Bob and Carol, Ted and Alice or all the other faux-hippie nonsense.

As to we being the “me first” generation and they out to “make a better world”, it is they who stand idly by while the less fortunate of their peers are enticed into service and dispatched to be picked off one by one in a foreign war of domestic political design.


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

My Man

 Bill or nomination


 Feingold's vote

Defense of Marriage Act

Sept. 10, 1996


War against Yugoslavia

March 23, 1999


John Ashcroft as Attorney General

Feb. 1, 2001


2001 tax cut

May 23, 2001


USA Patriot Act

Oct. 25, 2001


Iraq war resolution

Oct. 11, 2002


Unborn Victims of Violence Act

March 25, 2004


$87 billion for troops in Iraq

Oct. 17, 2003


Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State

Jan. 26, 2005


Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General

Feb. 3, 2005


Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold's record on some key votes:

Feingold voted against Clinton's war and against Bush's. He voted against Alberto Gonzales, but for John Ashcroft and Condy Rice. He was the lone nay vote in the Senate for the Patriot Act. Imagine that you were considering such an act yourself, opening yourself up to attack from every John Wayne wannabe nut job out in God's country. He voted against NAFTA, and is campaigning against CAFTA. This guy has guts, he's not fucking around, and he has my support.

He sits on the Judicial committee, and will get a lot of play in coming months, especially if an opening for the Supreme Court is coming up.

He is heading up a PAC called The Progressive Patriots Fund. He clearly wants to lead a campaign to energize progressives inside the Democratic party, to wrest leadership from the faux-liberal Clinton crowd and their enthusiastically co-opted Howard Dean. I suspect in my wildest dreams that he may be considering the possibility of creating a spin-off point from the Democratic party for progressives, a new progressive movement spawned of the upper Midwestern values of fairness, honesty and quiet achievement that returned him 20 points more than Kerry in this battleground state.

He has introduced a health care plan that he says will get the insured roll to 95% wile not adding a dollar to the deficit.

He will be assailed as being an elitist―he was a Rhodes Scholar and a graduate of Harvard Law School―yet he comes from a miniscule Jewish minority in blue collar Janesville, Wisconsin., a place not unlike Akron, Ohio; Decatur, Georgia; Worcester, Ma. and thousands of others where working people feverishly tread water in the wake of the "anti-elitist" bourgeoisie. He's not lost sight of those struggles.

He is likely the poorest Senator, yet he has returned all pay raises and voted for none.

The buzz is whether or not he intends to become a Presidential candidate. I'm not sure if I might rather see him remain my Senator. I think Edwards made a huge mistake by becoming Kerry's hand mate. Edwards should have stood up to his party and said no. So, I think, should Feingold, and I find it far more likely that he will.

The movement is the thing, the Presidency will take care of itself.